Edouard Detaille France

10-5-1848 Paris, FRA - 12-23-1912 Paris, FRA

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Detaille, Edouard

Edouard Detaille grew up in a prosperous military family in Picardy; his grandfather had been an arms supplier for Napoleon. An amateur artist who was friends with a number of collectors and painters, including Horace Vernet, Detaille's father encouraged his son's artistic endeavors. He began his artistic studies at age seventeen under the famous military painter Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier.

Detaille made his debut as an artist at the Salon of 1867 with a painting of Meissonier's studio. At the Salon of 1868, Edouard Detaille exhibited his first military painting, The Drummers Halt, which was based solely on his imagination of the French Revolution. With Repose During the Drill, Camp St Maur, which he debuted the following year, Detaille established his reputation as a painter.

Detaille enlisted in the 8th Mobile Battalion of the French Army when the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870; by November he was seeing and experiencing the realities of war. This experience allowed him to produce his famed portraits of soldiers and historically accurate depictions of military maneuvers, uniforms, and military life in general. In the 1890s, Edouard Detaille painted more and more paintings inspired by the Napoleonic epic, especially battle scenes and cavalry charges. He used period uniforms and accessories to perfect the accuracy of his paintings.

In 1912, Edouard Detaille created new uniforms for the French army. They were never adopted by the Minister of War, but the blue-gray greatcoats will influence later French World War I uniforms. During his life, he had amassed an impressive collection of military uniforms and artifacts and bequeathed to the Musée de l'Armée in Paris following his death.

Movement: Academic
Influences: Jean-Louis Meissonier
Traveled: Algeria
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