François Flameng

François Flameng

Biography of François Flameng ( 1856-1923 )

François Flameng, son of the famous engraver Leopold Flameng (1831-1911), studied with Alexandre Cabanel, Pierre Hedouin and Jean-Paul Laurens at the Fine Arts School in Paris. 

Engraver, draftsman, painter of history scenes, genre scenes and landscapes, François Flameng started exhibiting at the Paris Salon in 1873. He received a second class medal and a first prize in 1879. In 1889, he was awarded a Grand Prix at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. In 1905, he was appointed professor at the Fine Arts School. The same year, he was elected a member of the Institut and joined the French Artists Committee.  

In 1882, his friend the American painter John Singer Sargent made a portrait of him sitting with the artist Paul Helleu. Highly appreciated by the public and art critics, Flameng painted the portraits of many influential people. Among them, a portrait of Victor Hugo (in the collection of the Comédie Française), a portrait of Camille Desmoulins and the portrait of Queen Alexandra (The Royal Collection, London).

He was commissioned by the State to paint history scenes for official buildings: "The Battle of Eylau" in the House of Parliament, "The Call of the Girondins" or "The Conciergerie". Together with the artists Gervex, Merson and Maignan, he made great murals of genre scenes to decorate the new Salle Favart at the Opera Comique in Paris. In 1900, he made a large painting for the main room of Le Train Bleu, a luxurious restaurant in the Gare de Lyon.

For the Salon, he regularly exhibited delicate eighteen-century style compositions. With a great sense of detail, he represented the characters reading or entertaining themselves with music in a bourgeois environment. He excelled in depicting their sophisticated appearance, the clothes, the wigs and powdered faces.

In 1914, he was among the first artists to join the army as an official painter. At war, he made a lot of sketches that he would later use for his paintings. He became the Honour President of the French Military Painters Society, and died in 1923, after being knighted with the Legion d'Honneur.

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