1834, Paris – 1917, Paris
Like most artists of his period, the French painter and sculptor trained his eye through studies of classical and early Renaissance works. In the 1850s, under the influence of his teacher Ingres, he painted mainly historical subjects and portraits. He became friends with Édouard Manet, Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and until 1886 participated regularly in the Impressionist exhibitions. For his subject matter he turned increasingly to scenes from contemporary life, painting – often from his own photographs – motifs from the world of opera, theatre and cabaret, from the racecourse and cafés or women at their toilette. He began painting almost entirely in pastels. After 1889, as his eyesight progressively worsened, he turned predominantly to three-dimensional work, modelling sculptures of horses, female nudes and dancers.