French painter of landscapes and figure subjects, and ceramist. Born at Samer (Pas-de-Calais). Studied in Paris at the Petite Ecole under Lecoq de Boisbaudran, from whom he learnt to paint mainly from memory. Appointed teacher of drawing at the Ecole libre d'Architecture, Paris, 1863-6, and curator of the museum and head of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Tours, 1868. Visited England 1871-4 at the suggestion of Legros to teach jointly; when this project failed, designed ceramics for Fulham Pottery. Visited Italy 1874-5. From 1876 devoted himself almost entirely to painting. At first painted religious, mythological and historical subjects, but after visits to Italy, Holland and Flanders in 1884-8, became interested mainly in landscape. Commissioned in 1898 to complete the fresco cycle in the Pantheon which had been left unfinished by Puvis de Chavannes at the time of his death. Awarded a Grand Prix at the Paris International Exhibition 1900. Died at Le Lavandou (Var).
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.97