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Felix Bracquemond: 1833 - 1914

Born Joseph Auguste Bracquemond, he worked first as a circus rider, and then, in career move reminiscent of Jules Cheret, he worked in lithographer's shop.

He gained his artistic training by studying under Joseph Guichard, who himself was a pupil of Ingres. He made his early reputation as a lithographer and etcher, the techniques of which he taught to Edouard Manet.

He first exhibited in the Salon in 1852. In 1863, his engravings of Erasmus figured in the Salon des Refusés. Although his paintings attracted considerable approval at the Salon, his friendship with Manet and other Impressionists led him to participate in the Impressionist exhibitions of 1874, 1879 and 1880; but as a painter he was never really in sympathy with their ideas or techniques. In fact, he neglected painting in favor of graphic arts, becoming one of the first to discover the artistic beauty of Japanese woodcuts.

In 1869, he married the painter Marie Quiveron, who, of course, gained fame as Marie Bracquemond.

In 1871 he was appointed art director of the Sèvres porcelain factory and shortly afterwards, in 1872, he moved to the same position at the Haviland porcelain factory in Limoges (where he remained until 1879). In 1885 he published his book, Du Dessin et de la couleur, which was largely concerned with engraving. It was in this medium that his real achievements lay, and the 200 or so plates that he produced are among the most innovative of the century. He greatly helped Pissarro with his experiments in the medium. In 1879 he planned with Degas, Pissaro and Cassatt the publication of a journal, Le jour et la nuit, backed by Gustave Caillebotte, dedicated to graphic art; but nothing came of it, largely because Degas lost interest.

In 1900, he won the Grand Prix de Gravure at the Paris World Fair.

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