Alfred De Dreux

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Biography of Alfred De Dreux ( 1810-1860 )

Alfred De Dreux was the main ambassador of the "wildlife portrait" genre or group portrait with animals. De Dreux had an artistic background : his father was a renowned architect who obtained the Roma Prize in 1815 for his polytechnic school project, and settled down with his family in the Villa Medicis as a resident artist. During their stay in Rome, they hosted their friend and artist Theodore Gericault. Alfred De Dreux admired him for his artistic outstanding talents as a painter and horseman.

The young Alfred joined the master's studio and got taste for drawing cuirassiers riding on sturdy horses. Following Gericault's death in 1824, De Dreux joined the Léon Cogniet's studio. He then executed his first painting and payed tribute to the master with a copy of "Mazeppa". He completed his education at the Cogniet's studio until 1831 when he became a member of the Fine Arts Academy and exhibited for the first time two paintings at the Salon: "A horse jumping a ditch" and "Inside the stable". These two works met a great success and opened a prolific pictorial carrier.

From 1838, equestrian portraits depicting famous men and women accumulated, thus forming a real gallery at the painter's studio : comedienne Mademoiselle Doche portrait, Baron Klein portrait, young count of Bremont d'Ars on his poney, as well as the Ranjiit Sting Baadour portrait held today at the Louvre Museum.

Alfred De Dreux took part to the 1855's Universal Exhibition and was appointed Chevalier of the Legion of honour in 1857. The artist often travelled to Great-Britain between 1857 and 1858, and was particularly fond of the English horse style he found noble and elegant. De Dreux explored the racecourses and offered his own vision of the equestrian world. He later inspired Degas with his depiction of the races, and the younger artist collected the De Dreux drawings and engravings.

32 avenue Marceau
75008 Paris, France
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