French painter and lithographer, principally of portraits and scenes of motherhood. Born at Gournay (Seine-et-Marne). Grew up in Strasbourg, where he attended night classes at the municipal art school while working for a lithographer, designing posters, vignettes, etc. Moved in 1868 to Saint Quentin and in 1869 to Paris, where he entered Cabanel's studio at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Taken prisoner during the Franco-Prussian War and interned 1870-1 at Dresden, where he was influenced by the paintings by Rubens, Velazquez and Rembrandt in the Dresden Museum. Returned to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts 1872-6. Married in 1877, his family life becoming a constant inspiration for his pictures. Exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1876, but did not become widely known until after the foundation of the Salon de la Société Nationale in 1890. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Boussod-Valadon, Paris, 1891. Developed a misty, monochromatic style, with figures modelled by light and shade. He was closely associated with Verlaine, Mallarmé, Morice and other Symbolist writers, by whom he was much admired. Awarded a Grand Prix for his lithographs at the Paris International Exhibition 1900. Died in Paris.
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.96