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Neuville, Alphonse Marie De

NEUVILLE, ALPHONSE MARIE DE (1836-1885), French painter, was born, the son of wealthy parents, at Saint-Omer, France, on the 31st of May 1836. From school he went to college, where he took his degree of bachelier es lettres. In spite of the opposition of his family he entered the naval school at Lorient, and it was here, in 1856, that his artistic instincts first declared themselves. After being discouraged by several painters of repute, he was admitted to work in Picot's studio. He did not remain there long, and he was painting by himself when he produced his first picture, " The Fifth Battalion of Chasseurs at the Gervais Battery (Malakoff)." In 1860 de Neuville painted an " Episode of the taking of Naples by Garibaldi " for the Artists' Club in the Rue de Provence, and sent to the Salon in 1861 " The Light Horse Guards in the Trenches of the Mamdon Vert." He also illustrated Le Tour du monde and Guizot's History of France. At the same time he painted a number of remarkable pictures: " The Attack in the Streets of Magenta by Zouaves and the Light Horse " (1864), " A Zouave Sentinel " (1865), " The Battle of San Lorenzo " (1867), and " Dismounted Cavalry crossing the Tchernaia " (1869). In these he showed peculiar insight into military life, but his full power was not reached till after the war of 1870. He then aimed at depicting in his works the episodes of that war, and began by representing the " Bivouac before Le Bourget " (1872). His fame spread rapidly, and was increased by " The Last Cartridges " (1873), in which it is easy to discern the vast difference between the conventional treatment of military subjects, as practised by Horace Vernet, and that of a man who had lived through the life he painted. In 1874 the " Fight on a Railroad " was not less successful, and was followed by the " Attack on a House at Villersexel " (1875) and the " Railway Bridge at Styring " (1877). In 1878 the painter exhibited (not at the Great Exhibition) " Le Bourget," the " Surprise at Daybreak," " The Intercepted Despatch-bearer," and a considerable number of drawings. He also exhibited in London some episodes of the Zulu War. In 1881 he was made an officer of the Legion of Honour for " The Cemetery of Saint-Privat " and " The Despatch-bearer." During these years de Neuville was at work with Detaille on an important though less artistic work, " The Panorama of Rezonville." De Neuville died in Paris on the 18th of May 1885. At the sale of his works the state purchased for the Luxembourg the " Bourget " and the " Attack on a Barricaded House," with a water-colour " The Parley," and a drawing of a " Turco in Fighting Trim."

See Montrosier, Les Peintres militaires (Paris, 1881), "De Neuville," in Gazette des beaux arts (Paris, 1885).

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

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