Georges Moreau de Tours 

Georges Moreau de Tours 

Biography of Georges Moreau de Tours  ( 1848-1901 )

Georges Moreau de Tours was born in Ivry-sur-Seine, in the grounds of the Maison de Santé Esquirol run by his father, the famous physician and psychiatrist Jacques-Joseph Moreau. The establishment was later taken over by the painter's elder brother, Paul Moreau de Tours, a doctor specializing in the treatment of insanity.

The young boy grew up in a world of intellectuals and researchers, frequented by his father, a great lover of art and literature. Dr. Moreau was a pioneer in psychological research on hypnosis and hysteria. He also conducted studies into the paranormal states induced by narcotics, as described by Charles Baudelaire in Paradis Artificiels in 1860. As early as 1836, the doctor began studying the effects of hashish on the psyche, including a trip to the Orient with one of his patients. In 1844, he founded the Club des Haschischins, a place described by Théophile Gautier in 1848 in his eponymous essay, and also frequented by painters Fernand Boissard, Eugène Delacroix and Honoré Daumier.

Having initially studied law, Georges Moreau de Tours finally turned to art, entering the Beaux-Arts under Cabanel in 1870.
He exhibited for the first time at the Salon in 1875, then competed for the Prix de Rome three years later with "Ptolémée au tombeau d'Alexandre". At the time, he was attracted by classical subjects, with their egyptological and oriental flavors. His solid technique enabled him to reproduce perfect drapery in his classical subjects, which quickly won critical acclaim.

His father's research did not leave the artist indifferent, and he himself painted several pictures dealing with drug addiction or madness. "Les Morphinées", exhibited at the 1879 Salon, and "Les Fascinés de la Charité, Service du Dr. Luys", shed new light on social issues rarely dealt with in painting.
Driven by a patriotic republican spirit that followed the fall of Napoleon III among many artists, Georges Moreau de Tours took up historical subjects, exhibiting them at the Salon from 1886 to 1893 and at the Universal Exhibitions of 1889 and 1900.

Among his state commissions, the paintings in the marriage hall at the Mairie du Centre in Paris, installed in 1882 and depicting "The Family", "Sacrifice to the Fatherland" and "Marriage", can still be admired today.

In 1893, Georges Moreau de Tours finally married Thérèse de Champ Renaud, a Swiss-born painter who was his one and only pupil. She was already the mother of his three daughters and would give him a son two years later.
In 1895, the family moved to Blois-le-Roi, where many artists, writers and composers had settled in 1871 to escape the siege of Paris and the Commune. He found a peaceful life here, and flourished in a more realistic style of painting, with occasional impressionist overtones. He tirelessly portrayed family life, and his wife painted beautiful works with him in a technique similar to that of his master.

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