Swiss 1838 - 1902
Swiss painter. His father was a clock engraver, and he initially trained as an enamellist. He took drawing lessons from Barthelemy Menn and attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1859. He soon decided to concentrate on oil painting. He was assistant to the genre and figure painter Eduardo Zamacois y Zabala (1842-71). In the Franco-Prussian War he joined the Red Cross, moving into Switzerland at the beginning of February 1871 with the army led by Gen. Bourbaki. He painted military scenes from sketches carried out on the battlefield and received consistently good reviews, which also brought financial success. He was commissioned by a Belgian panorama company to record the entry of the French army into Switzerland, which he had witnessed in 1871. He spent the winter of 1876-7 on site at Les Verrieres, painting preparatory studies, and in 1881 he completed the panorama, Gen. Bourbaki's Army Retreating into Switzerland (Lucerne, Panorama). He was aided by nine assistants, recruited from among Menn's pupils, who included Ferdinand Hodler. The work was exhibited in Geneva and was brought to a rotunda in Lucerne in 1889. Among panorama paintings it is a work of a high order: despite the colossal dimensions and the barely comprehensible mass of people depicted, the dominant impression is of individual suffering.