The family moved to Paris when he was eleven so Thomas Couture could study at the École des Arts et Métiers and later at the famed École des Beaux-Arts. He failed six times in the Prix de Rome competition at the École, he felt the problem was with the School, not with himself. He kept on trying and Couture finally won the prize in 1837.
In 1840, he began exhibiting historical and genre paintings at the Paris Salon, earning several medals in the process for his artworks, specifically for his 1847 masterpiece, Romans During the Decadence. Not long after this achievement, Thomas Couture opened a private studio to challenge the École des Beaux-Arts by turning out a new class of history painters. Throughout his life, he trained artists such as Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, who stayed for a brief span, and Édouard Manet, who, in spite of his clashing relations with Couture, frequented his studio for six and a half years.
Thomas Couture's innovative technique gained much attention, and he received Government and Church commissions for murals during the late 1840s through the 1850s. Yet, he never finished the initial two commissions, while the third met with mixed criticism. Irritated by the unfavorable criticism of his murals, he left Paris in 1860, for a time returning to the place where he grew up in Senlis, there, he would teach young artists who came to him for instruction. In 1867 he thumbed his nose at the academic establishment by publishing a book on his thoughts and working methods.
Art Movement: Academic Art.
Artists Influencing Thomas Couture: Edouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour, John La Farge, Pierre Chavannes, Karel Javůrek, Lois de Sylvestre, Fritz Zuber-Bühler.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.