Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Les Baigneuses de Fontainebleau (The Bathers Fontainebleau)
oil on canvas
71.5 x 98.5 cm
Private collection

Charles Auguste Emile Durand (1837-1917), known as Carolus-Duran, was a French painter and art instructor. He is noted for his stylish depictions of members of high society in Third Republic France.

He came from a humble background and, by the age of 11, he was taking lessons at the Academie in Lille from a sculptor who taught him to sketch. In 1853 he moved to Paris. He copied in the Louvre. He exhibited at the Salon for the first time in 1859. His first period in Paris shows the influence of Gustave Courbet. He soon befriended Courbet, Manet and the Realist artists, painting their portraits with a serious Realism full of concentrated energy. In 1861, he traveled to Italy and Spain for further study, especially devoting himself to the pictures of Velazquez.

He became best known as a portrait painter, and, as the head of one of the principal ateliers in Paris, a teacher of some of the most brilliant artists of the next generation who were his pupils. Among his pupils were John Singer Sargent. In 1889, he was made a commander of the Legion of Honour. In 1890, he participated in the creation of the Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts. He became a member of the Academie des Beaux-Arts in 1904, and in the next year, was appointed director of the French Academy in Rome.