Jules-Joseph Lefebvre

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Jules Joseph Lefebvre
Jules Lefebvre in the studio.

Jules-Joseph Lefebvre (born March 14, 1834 in Tournan-en-Brie , Département Seine-et-Marne , † February 24, 1912 in Paris ) was a French painter and teacher at the Académie Julian in Paris. He specialized in portrait and nude painting .


Lefebvre was the son of a baker . His father encouraged him to go to Paris in 1852 to study painting. There he studied for a year under Léon Cogniet , and finally switched to the renowned École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris . In 1855 he exhibited his works for the first time at the Paris Salon . After completing his training, he traveled to Italy, where, after several unsuccessful attempts , he won the Prix ​​de Rome in 1861 with the historical painting The Death of Priam .

During this time in Rome he was able to study the Mannerist painters extensively , especially Andrea del Sarto , from whom he was greatly influenced and whose work he copied. His first nude painting was also created at this time. He sent two works for exhibition at the Paris Salon in 1864 and 1866, but the latter was very poorly received by critics. When his parents and one of his sisters died that same year, it led to a deep depression and completely changed his life.

In the following years he returned to Paris and reconsidered his previous style, it changed more to a realistic representation of reality. In 1868 he exhibited his second nude painting in the salon, which was much better received. Two years later he had with truth that his first great success among others to its distinction as an officer of the Legion of Honor led. In the same year he took up his position as a teacher at the Académie Julian.

In the years that followed he refined his technique and concentrated entirely on portraits and nudes. From 1855 to 1898 he exhibited a total of 72 works in the Paris Salon, most of which showed women. His models included his daughter Yvonne, Napoléon Eugène Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon IV) and the writer Alexandre Dumas , who in 1892 bought the painting Femme Nue for 25,000 francs .

Student (selection)

Works (selection)

  • Fleurs des Champs
  • Girl with mandolin
  • Truth (La Vérité) (1870)
  • Chloé (1875)
  • Portrait of Julia Foster Ward (1880)
  • Japonaise (1882)
  • Pandora (1882)
  • Portrait of Edna Barger of Connecticut (1884)
  • Clemence Isaure



Web links

Commons : Jules Joseph Lefebvre  - album with pictures, videos and audio files