Hugues Merle

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Hugues Merle
Merle - Young Woman And Child.JPG
The First Thorns of Knowledge (Les premières épines de la science), 1864, Dallas Museum of Art
Born1823 (1823)
Saint Martin, France
Died1881 (aged 57–58)
Known forPainting

Hugues Merle (1823–1881) was a French painter who mostly depicted sentimental or moral subjects. He has often been compared with William-Adolphe Bouguereau.


Hugues Merle was born in 1823 in Saint Martin. He studied painting with Léon Cogniet. Merle started exhibiting at the Salon (Paris) in 1847. He received second class prizes in 1861 and 1863.[1] In 1866 he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

Hugues Merle became a friend of Paul Durand-Ruel in the early 1860s. Durand-Ruel had started buying paintings by Merle in 1862 and introduced the artist to painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau.[2] Merle was later often compared to Bouguereau and “became a considerable rival of Bouguereau in subject and treatment”.[3] In the mid-1860s, Merle painted several portraits of Paul Durand-Ruel, his wife, and their son, John.

Hugues Merle died in 1881 in Paris. His son Georges Merle also became a painter.[4]


  1. ^ Zafran, Eric (1984). European Art in the High Museum.
  2. ^ Whiteley, Linda (1979). Accounting for Tastes. Oxford Art Journal. p. 26.
  3. ^ Stranahan, C.H. (1917). A History of French Painting. p. 398.
  4. ^ Birmingham Museum of Art (2010). Birmingham Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection. London: Giles. p. 142. ISBN 978-1-904832-77-5. Archived from the original on 2011-09-10. Retrieved 2011-06-27.


  • European Art in the High Museum, by Eric M. Zafran, Atlanta, 1984
  • "Accounting for Tastes", by Linda Whiteley, Oxford Art Journal, Vol. 2, Art and Society (Apr., 1979), pp. 25–28

Media related to Hugues Merle at Wikimedia Commons