Jules Emile Saintin

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Biography of Jules Emile Saintin ( 1829-1894 )

Jules Saintin started painting at a very young age, and began to paint for a living when he was only 11 years old. In 1845, he was accepted at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied under Michel Martin Drolling and François Edouard Picot. Thanks to the lessons given by his masters, the young man proved to be a skilled portraitist.

During his first entries to the Salon des Artistes Français in 1848, the young painter was noticed and his portraits were rewarded with numerous medals. Unfortunately, earning too little money, he thought of going into exile. In April 1854, he found a three-year contract with an American photographer in New York, where he was in charge of retouching portraits. He thus left France for the new world but never stopped sending his work to the Salons during these three years. He was awarded the Grand Medal of Emulation.

After these years spent with Mr. C.-D. Fredericks, Saintin decided to leave his position in order to devote himself fully to painting. In 1857, he exhibited at the New York Academy and was elected a member in 1858. He finally stayed in America for six years, where he acquired a certain reputation. A tireless and prolific worker, during this period he produced about fifty paintings and thirty portraits. In particular, he painted portraits of "Mr. and Mrs. Bavoillot", "Mr. Auvelder" and "the Belmont children". But he missed France and Paris, which he loved so much, and in 1860 he returned and from then on rarely left the capital.

The artist moved to 11 rue Washington in the 8th arrondissement where he set up a charming studio that his painter friends liked to frequent. Every Sunday his friends Paul Baudry, Charles Gamier, Raimundo de Madrazzo, Boulanger or Delessart meet in his studio to share their experiences.

Saintin met with success as soon as he returned to France, when he exhibited "A White Woman Kidnapped by the Sioux" at the Salon. In the following years, following the precious advice of his faithful friend Paul Baudry, Jules Saintin ventured into genre painting. He quickly became a leading figure in this field. From then on, he strengthened his reputation and gradually became an unavoidable portraitist whose reputation brought him the much hoped-for success. Nobody knows better than him how to give a fine expression, a lively and sympathetic physiognomy, while maintaining a true likeness that is always flattering.

In Paris, he is now welcomed in all circles and met the most influential personalities. This is how he crossed paths with Princess Mathilde, whose portrait he painted. This commission earned him many others and Saintin definitively established himself as a portraitist.

In 1876, he was appointed commissioner of the Philadelphia Exhibition. He then returned to America for a few months to fulfill his duties. On his return he was promoted to the rank of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.

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