Adolphe Appian Biography

Adolphe Appian




Barbizon painter and printmaker Jacques Barthelemy Adolphe Appian was born 1819 in Lyon, France. At age fifteen he enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts et Lyon, where he studied under Jean-Michel Grobon and Augustin Alexandre Thierrat. At this time he shortened his name to Adolphe Appian, and after completing his studies at Beax-Arts Lyon he traveled to Paris to continue his education, focusing on atmospheric landscape painting as well as graphic arts. 

In 1853 he exhibited two works at the Paris Salon, where he became acquainted with Charles-Franois Daubigny and Camille Corot, two leading Parisian Barbizon artists whose styles greatly influenced Appian's own work. This exhibition marked a positive turn in the artist's career, as a charcoal drawing of his was deemed "fusainiste" - a master charcoal drawing - by critics. By the 1860s he was a sought-after printmaker, as the popularity of the medium gained traction and the public began collecting etchings, engravings, and other prints. His work was soon regularly published by the Societe des Aquafortistes, and his reputation grew. In 1867 two of his works were purchased by Napolean III and Princess Mathilde, his niece, establishing Appian as one of Paris' leading artists.

By the 1870s he was one of the artists who began exhibiting his plein air painted sketches, placing him in art history as among the forebearers of Impressionism. Throughout his career he was awarded with several gold medals in drawing, painting and printmaking, and he was elected a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur. His work can be found in museums and collections throughout the world. 

Appian died in Lyon in 1898.