French Impressionist painter, mainly of women, children and landscapes. Born at Limoges, son of a tailor. Lived in Paris from the age of four. Apprenticed to a painter of porcelain, then earned money to study art by painting blinds, murals, etc. In 1862 entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the studio of Gleyre; met Monet, Bazille, Sisley. Influenced by Courbet and made painting expeditions to the Forest of Fontainebleau. About 1869-74 painted much with Monet along the Seine near Paris; they adopted a higher-keyed palette and between them evolved the characteristic Impressionist idiom. Exhibited at four of the Impressionist exhibitions 1874-82, and had his first one-man exhibition at La Vie Moderne, Paris, in 1879. After visiting Italy in 1881, where he was impressed by Raphael and Pompeian frescoes, and later working with Cézanne in Provence, turned away from Impressionism and adopted a more precise style of drawing related to Ingres and Boucher. Took a house at Essoyes in 1898. From 1903 regularly passed the winters at Cagnes and the summers at Essoyes. His late works were hotter in colour and more rounded in modelling. In his last years, though increasingly crippled with arthritis, he began to make sculpture with the help of an assistant. Died at Cagnes.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.624