Gustave Boulanger

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Biography of Gustave Boulanger ( 1824-1888 )

Gustave Boulanger was a French painter with Creole origin. Orphaned at fourteen, he was adopted by his uncle A. M. Desbrosses, an official from Santo Domingo. The young artist studied in Paul Delaroche's classes where he met the painters Jean-Louis Hamon, Henri Picou and Jean-Léon Gérôme, with whom he developed the "neo-Greek" movement.

In 1845, he was sent to Algeria by his uncle. He stayed there for eight months, doing many studies of figures and landscapes. Back in Paris, he entered to the Fine Arts School of Paris in 1846 and became a student of Paul Delaroche and Pierre Jollivet.

From 1848 to 1875, he exhibited at the Salon. The paintings "A Moorish Coffee" and "Indians playing with panthers" were very admired by the public and critics. He won the Prix de Rome in 1849. During his stay at the Villa Medicis, he definitely chose the neoclassical style and the representation of orientalist subjects and classical antiquity.

Faithful exhibitor at the Salon, he exhibited Algerian scenes like "Pâtres arabes" (1859) "Les Kabyles en déroute" (1863) and won a second class medal in 1857 for "Julius Caesar arrived at the Rubicon".

During his career, Gustave Boulanger also received many official commissions for the decoration of public buildings. He created the decorations for the Paris Opera House, five panels illustrating the "civic virtues" in the 13th district of Paris and paintings for the Monte-Carlo Opera.

Gustave Boulanger was appointed Knight of the Legion of honor in 1865 and was elected in May 1882, member of the Academy of Fine Arts in the Painting section.

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