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
Born(1822-04-28)April 28, 1822
La Sône, France
Died1881 (aged 58–59)
Known forPainting

Hugues Merle (1822–1881) 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 1822 in La Sône.[1] He studied painting with Léon Cogniet. Merle started exhibiting at the Salon (Paris) in 1847. He received second class prizes in 1861 and 1863.[2] 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.[3] Merle was later often compared to Bouguereau and “became a considerable rival of Bouguereau in subject and treatment”.[4] 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.[5]



  1. ^ (in French)Mairie de La Sône, registre année 1822, naissance, n°5 (Michaël Vottero, « Hugues Merle (1822-1881) Peinture de genre et marché de l'art sous le Second Empire », Bulletin de la société de l'histoire de l'art français, 2011, p. 145-216, note 2).
  2. ^ Zafran, Eric (1984). European Art in the High Museum.
  3. ^ Whiteley, Linda (1979). Accounting for Tastes. Oxford Art Journal. p. 26.
  4. ^ Stranahan, C.H. (1917). A History of French Painting. p. 398.
  5. ^ 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