Hugues Merle France
4-28-1823 La Sône, FRA - 3-16-1881 Paris, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Hugues Merle was a sensitive genre painter of great talent whose paintings of the simple, noble lives of the working class won him international recognition.
Hugues Merle studied painting with Léon Cogniet at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts . Merle started exhibiting at the Salon (Paris) in 1847. He received second class prizes in 1861 and 1863. He embarked on a series of paintings depicting historical themes including The Assassination of Henry the III, which was acquired by the French government in 1863 for exhibition at the Musee de Pau. In 1866 he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
Hugues Merle became a friend of Paul Durand-Ruel in the early 1860s. Durand-Ruel had started buying paintings by Merle in 1862 and introduced the artist to painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau. In fact, it was at the urging of their mutual friend and art dealer, Durand-Ruel, that Bouguereau took up Merle's highly successful theme of familial love. Hugues Merle was later often compared to Bouguereau and became a considerable rival of Bouguereau in subject and treatment. Merle became the teacher of Bouguereau's wife, Elizabeth Gardner. His son Georges Merle also became a painter.
Art Movement: Realism
Influences: Léon Cogniet
Influenced: Elizabeth Gardner Bouguereau