Hugues Merle Biography | Oil Paintings

4-28-1823 La Sône, FRA - 3-16-1881 Paris, FRA

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Hugues Merle studied painting with Léon Cogniet at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and started exhibiting at the Paris Salon in 1847 at the age of twenty-four. He received second class prizes in 1861, followed by another second class prize in1863. He painted 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 the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel in the early 1860s. Durand-Ruel had started buying paintings by Merle in 1862 and introduced him to painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau. In fact, it was with the encouragement of their mutual friend, that Bouguereau started painting the same as subjects as Merle's highly successful canvases of familial love, and Bouguereau became even more successful than Merle. Hugues Merle the originator was later often compared to Bouguereau and became a considerable rival of Bouguereau in subject and treatment. Merle even became the teacher of Bouguereau's wife, Elizabeth Gardner.

His son Georges Merle also became a painter. Hugues Merle was a genre painter of great talent whose sensitive paintings of the simple lives of the working class won him international recognition.

Art Movement: Realism.
Artists Influencing Hugues Merle: Léon Cogniet.
Painters Hugues Merle Influenced: Elizabeth Gardner Bouguereau.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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