Theopile Narcisse Chauvel Biography

Theopile Narcisse Chauvel




Painter, printmaker, and photographer Théophile-Narcisse Chauvel was born on April 2, 1831 in Paris, France. He studied under François-Édouard and Jean-Joseph Bellel before enrolling in courses at the Imperial School of Fine Arts beginning in 1854. That year he won the Rome Prize for historical landscape painting, and in 1855 he entered his work for the first time in the Paris Salon. He pursued painting until 1859, when he turned his attention to etching and lithography. Printmaking would become his primary medium from then onward, even as he worked in others. 

Of particular interest ot Chauvel was the Barbizon landscape style, and in addition to reproducing the paintings of established Barbizon artists such as Jules Dupré and Jean-Baptiste Camille, he drew his own series of works relating to nature, especially the forest of Fontainbleau. He also worked in watercolor at this time and in 1862 became an associate member of the Société des aquafortistes and, later, the Société des aquafortistes français. 

In the 1870s he worked for the publication of Alfred Cadart, L'Eau forte en..., as well as the magazine L'Art, becoming director of the latter in the 1890s. He created drypoints, lithographs, and etchings of works by various artists but was known especially for his rendering of the work of Charles-François Daubigny. His worked earned him status as one of the leading printmakers in France, and he was named Chevelier de la Legion d'honneur in 1879, promoted to officer in 1896.

Chauvel won medals at the Salon in 1870, '73, and '78, and winning the Grand Prix du Salon in both 1889 and 1900. In 1881 he was given the Medal of Honor for Engraving by the Salon of French Artists. In 1885 he was selected as a member of the jury for the first International Black and White Exhibition, a show held in the tradition of the popular Black & White Exhibtions at the Dudley Galleries in London, where Chauvel had exhibited.

Théophile-Narcisse Chauvel died on December 27, 1909 in Paris, and was buried in the Passy Cemetery where a bronze medallion portrait was mounted to his plaque in his honor. His work is held in private and public collections and museums throughout the world, including the National Library of France, the Musée d'Orsay, and the Evreux Museum.