The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Pascal-Adolphe-Jean Dagnan-Bouveret, 1852-1929

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 1852.01.07
Place of Birth: Paris
Date of Death: 1929.07.03
Place of Death: Quincey, Haute-Saone


Pascal-Adolphe-Jean Dagnan-Bouveret was a draughtsman and painter of landscape, still-life and genre subjects. He was the son of Bernard Dagnan who moved to Brazil in 1868. He remained with his maternal grandfather in Melun, changing his name to include his maternal surname Bouveret. Dagnan-Bouveret married Maria Walter, the cousin of Gustave Courtois.


Dagnan-Bouveret trained in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and in the studios of Alexandre Cabanel and Jean-Léon Gérôme, making his début at the Salon in 1875. His early paintings, inspired by the countryside of the Franche-Comté region, show an interest in light and atmospheric effects and in the realism of the seventeenth century Dutch masters, e.g. An Accident (exh. Salon 1880; Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore). His later works painted in Brittany evince a concern for the religious and social customs of the Breton people. He became one of the key figures in the naturalistic school and close friends with Jules Bastien-Lepage. He was known to have used photography in order to enhance the realism of his works. In the 1890s he turned increasingly to idealised portraiture and religious, mystic themes, e.g. Supper at Emmaus (1896-7; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh).

Dagnan-Bouveret exhibited in Britain between 1886 and 1917 at the Royal Academy, New Gallery and Arthur Tooth and Sons Gallery in London, as well as at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and Manchester City Art Gallery. He also exhibited with the Royal Society of British Artists in London, a society which named JW its President in 1886, and with the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, which elected JW its President in 1898.

Dagnan-Bouveret was nominated Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur in 1885, an honour which JW received four years later. Dagnan-Bouveret was also made a member of the Institut de France in 1900.


Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Dampt, J., Catalogue des oeuvres de M. Dagnan-Bouveret, Paris, 1930; Weisberg, G. P., (ed.), The Realist Tradition, Cleveland, 1980; Johnson, J., and A. Greutzner, The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; Weisberg, G. P., Beyond Impressionism: The Naturalist Impulse, New York, 1992; Weisberg, Gabriel, Against the Modern: Dagnan-Bouveret and the Transformation of the Academic Tradition, Rutgers, 2002; Weisberg, Gabriel, 'P.-A.-G. Dagnan-Bouveret', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 9 October 2002).