Francois Flameng

1856 - 1923

Place Born


Place Died



François Flameng (1856–1923) was a talented and successful French painter during the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th. He was the son of a celebrated painter and engraver, Léopold Flameng (1831-1911), who gave him his initial training and encouragement before François entered the École des Beaux Arts, initially as a student of Alexandre Cabanel.  He showed a precocious talent and aged just fourteen was given some work by Paul Durand Ruel, providing engravings of paintings by Manet, Sisley and Monet.  He later joined the painters Gerome and Clairin (both his senior by many years) on a journey to Italy and soon established a reputation as a popular society portraitist. His subjects included members of the French and Russian nobility and new rich and the American plutocracy, as well as a full-length portrait of Queen Alexandra of Great Britain (this portrait hangs in the White Drawing room in Buckingham Palace) and a small portrait of her husband, Edward VII. He was friends with both John Singer Sargent and Paul Helleu, and from 1900 his studio was located in the latter’s house at 16 rue de la Glacière.

Flameng also painted a number of historical subjects, usually set in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and particularly the Napoleonic wars. He was given several commissions of history subjects by Emperor Alexander III of Russia (which now hang in the Hermitage), who in 1894 invited him to the imperial summer palace at Gatchina to paint members of the imperial family. He joined Henri Gervex, Benjamin Constant and Luc-Olivier Merson in painting the decorations of the Salle Favart in the Opera Comique, after it was damaged by fire in 1887 and in 1897 drew the designs for the 1000 franc bank note (never used) and 5000 franc note (which was used between 1938 and 1945). He designed advertising posters and made engravings for books, working constantly despite suffering from diabetes.

He was a popular professor at the École des Beaux Arts and, in 1905, was elected a member of the Institut (in place of William Bougereau), becoming president of the Academy of Fine Arts. During the First World War, in which his only son was killed in action in 1915, he earned a considerable reputation as a war artist, travelling to the front in a chauffeured car where he made drawings later completed as paintings (which can now be seen in the musée de l’Armée, Les Invalides). The majority of his drawings were used to produce engravings and lithographs of the action for newspapers and journals, made on frequent journeys to the front where, after the death of his son, he was notably careless of his own safety. These powerful and emotive scenes are among his most notable artistic achievements. He was appointed a chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur.

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The French Tennis Champion Max Decugis

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Historical Period: 1840-1900 Realism to Impressionism and 1890-1930 Modern
The French Tennis Champion Max Decugis