When he was 17 years old, he went to Paris to study but soon after, he went back to Elne, where he produced most of his works.
He used to walk with his easel and he is considered one of the precursors of Fauvism. During his life, he was very much appreciated by artists like George-Daniel de Monfreid, André Derain, and Henri Matisse, who was his penpal from 1905 to 1917.
In 1994, a museum about him was inaugurated in his birth town, and, in 1998, his works were shown in the exhibition "Le Roussillon à l'origine de l'Art Moderne" in Perpignan.
The Terrus Museum in Elne in the south of France is dedicated to paintings by Terrus. In 2018, it was discovered that more than half its collection, 82 works, were counterfeit. It was thought that works by other regional artists in other locations might also be counterfeit.
- "Étienne Terrus museum in Elne uncovers fake art in collection". BBC News. 28 April 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- "French Museum Discovers More Than Half Its Collection Is Fake". New York Times. 30 April 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
- Madeleine Raynal, « Étienne Terrus », Conflent, n° 181, janvier-février 1993, p. 2-6.
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