He was born in Pont-de-Vaux, Ain and grew up in Bresse. In 1838 he moved to Paris, where he began studying under Paul Delaroche in 1842. The following year he met Corot, who influenced him profoundly by encouraging him to paint landscape en plein air.
Art historian Athena S. E. Leoussi suggests that Chintreuil's work can be divided into three periods: From c. 1846–1850 he painted Paris and its surroundings, particularly Montmartre; from 1850–1857 he lived in Igny and frequently painted in Barbizon, and from 1857 on he lived and worked in La Tournelle-Septeuil in the Seine valley. During this final period his work reached its fullest development, and he achieved critical recognition.
In the breadth and simplicity of his execution, and in his attention to capturing light and atmosphere, Chintreuil can be placed alongside Eugène Boudin, Johan Barthold Jongkind, and the painters of the Barbizon school, as an important forerunner of Impressionism.
- Turner, J. (2000). From Monet to Cézanne: late 19th-century French artists. Grove Art. New York: St Martin's Press. (p. 93) ISBN 0-312-22971-2
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