Paul-Alfred Colin was a marine and landscape painter. His father, Alexandre-Marie Colin, was also a painter and lithographer. He married Sara Devéria, the daughter of the painter, designer, engraver and lithographer, Achille-Jacques-Jean-Marie Devéria.
Colin was a pupil of his father and of J. P. Laurens. He exhibited landscapes, marine pieces, portraits and flower paintings at the Salon from 1863. In this year Henri Fantin-Latour reported to JW that Colin's painting was a great success at the Salon (#01081). He was also a regular exhibitor at the Salon des Artistes Français. His works, which include Marée basse à Yport, Les pommiers de la ferme Loisel and Habitations de pêcheurs, approached the realism of Emile Charles Lambinet. He was awarded a bronze medal at the Paris Salon in 1875 and the same in 1889 and at the Exposition Universelle in 1900.
Colin was appointed Professor of Drawing at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1875 and Director of the Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs and Inspector General for the teaching of drawing in 1879. He was a member of the Societé des Artistes francais and of the Académie of Caen. In 1901 he became an Officier de la légion d'honneur.
Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61.