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Heim, Francois Joseph

HEIM, FRANCOIS JOSEPH (1787-1865), French painter, was born at Belfort on the 16th of December 1787. He early distinguished himself at the Ecole Centrale of Strassburg, and in 1803 entered the studio of Vincent at Paris. In 1807 he obtained the first prize, and in 1812 his picture of "The Return of Jacob " (Musee de Bordeaux) won for him a gold medal of the first class, which he again obtained in 1817, when he exhibited, together with other works, a St John bought by Vivant Denon. In 1819 the " Resurrection of Lazarus " (Cathedral Autun), the " Martyrdom of St Cyr " (St Gervais), and two scenes from the life of Vespasian (ordered by the king) attracted attention. In 1823 the " Re-erection of the Royal Tombs at St Denis," the " Martyrdom of St Laurence " (Notre Dame) and several full-length portraits increased the painter's popularity; and in 1824, when he exhibited his great canvas, the " Massacre of the Jews " (Louvre), Heim was rewarded with the legion of honour. In 1827 appeared the " King giving away Prizes at the Salon of 1824 " (Louvre engraved by Jazet) the picture by which Heim is best known and " Saint Hyacinthe." Heim was now commissioned to decorate the Gallery Charles X. (Louvre). Though ridiculed by theromantists, Heim succeeded Regnault at the Institute in 1834, shortly after which he commenced a series of drawings of the celebrities of his day, which are of much interest. His decorations of the Conference room of the Chamber of Deputies were completed in 1844; and in 1847 his works at the Salon "Champ de Mai " and " Reading a Play at the Theatre Francais " were the signal for violent criticisms. Yet something like a turn of opinion in his favour took place at the exhibition of 1851; his powers as a draughtsman and the occasional merits of his composition were recognized, and toleration extended even to his colour. Heim was awarded the great gold medal, and in 1855 having sent to the Salon no less than sixteen portraits, amongst which may be cited those of " Cuvier," " Geoffroy de St Hilaire," and " Madame Hersent "he was made officer of the legion of honour. In 1859 he again exhibited a curious collection of portraits, sixty-four members of the Institute arranged in groups of four. He died on the 29th of September 1865. Besides the paintings already mentioned, there is to be seen in Notre Dame de Lorette (Paris) a work executed on the spot; and the museum of Strassburg contains an excellent example of his easel pictures, the subject of which is a " Shepherd Drinking from a Spring."

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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