Rodolphe Julian established the Académie Julian in 1868 at the Passage des Panoramas, as a private studio school for art students. The Académie Julian not only prepared students to the exams at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts, but offered independent training in arts. At that time, women were not allowed to enroll for study to the École des Beaux-Arts, but the new Académie Julian accepted them, providing an alternative education and training. Men and women were trained separately, and women participated in the same studies as men, including the basis of art training – drawing and painting of nude models.
Like its counterpart, the Académie Colarossi, it was popular with French as well as foreign students from all over the world, particularly Americans. Eventually, Académie Julian students were granted the right to compete for the Prix de Rome, a prize awarded to promising young artists.
The longstanding success of the Academie was secured by the famous and respected artists whom Rodolfo Julian employed as instructors: Adolphe William Bouguereau (1825–1905), Henri Royer, Jean-Paul Laurens, Edgar Chahine, Gabriel Ferrier, Tony Robert-Fleury, Jules Lefebvre and other leading artists of that time, mainly exponents of the academic style.
Over time, Académie Julian opened schools in other locations. In addition to the original school at Passage des Panoramas, studios were at no.28 Boulevard St-Jacques in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, no.5 Rue de Berri in the 8th arrondissement, no. 31 Rue du Dragon in the 6th arrondissement, no. 51, rue Vivienne in the 2nd arrondissement accepting female student artists as of 1880.
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- Reid, Dennis R. (1988). A Concise History of Canadian Painting. Toronto: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-540664-1; ISBN 978-0-19-540663-4; OCLC 18378555