François Louis Français

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Biography of François Louis Français ( 1814-1897 )

François Français arrives in 1825 in Paris where he takes place to a bookseller as a clerk. After five years, he succeed in living on his drawings, executes text illustrations for luxury editions and take a place in lithography.

He studies the drawing with Jean Gigoux and the painting with Camille Corot, who gives him the opportunity to make his first journey in Italy. He begins in the Salon de Paris of 1837 with « A Song under willows » painted in association with Henri Baron. In 1853, he exposes several paintings among which a « Antique Garden, Park of Saint-Cloud » whose figures are painted by Meissonnier. He is present in The World Fair of 1855 with five paintings, of which a remarkable entitled landscape  « Path of wheat ».
During a journey towards Italy in 1858, the landscape painter discovers Nice. Seduced by the climate and by the provincial life, he spends there regularly his winters from 1872. He lives Villa Frémy in Mont-Boron, site which he often paints with the Port of Nice, Cimiez. He exposes these paintings during the Salon of Nice. He writes in 1865: « I frequented a lot Nice (at Mr. de Frémy) and its neighborhood... So which happiness, after a laborious winter spent in the studio near a stove which urges to the congestion, to take place for Nice... If I had to begin again my life, I would be made painter of landscape! »
In 1878, Français finishs for the church of the Trinity in Paris, two representing compositions « Adam and Eve chased away from the paradise » and « the Baptism of the Christ ».

He meets an increasing success and exposes regularly to the Salon until 1885. Recognized in his lifetime, he obtains a medal of honour in 1878. Made chevalier of the Legion of Honnour in July 1853, he becomes an officer in 1867. He is the first landscape painter, genre then minor, to be elected member of the Institute in 1890, as a replacement of Robert Fleury.

Françias illustrated numerous works of his time, in particular Robinson Crusoe and engraved several works of performance among which those of Marilhat. The reference magazines of that time, The Artist, The World tour, The picturesque Store, seek him for his drawings.

Landscape painter but also painter of portraits, Français executed a remarkable self-portrait for the Corridor of Vasari of the Gallery of the Offices Museum of Florence.

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