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 Marie-Louise-Catharine Breslau  (1856 - 1927)

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Lived/Active: Germany/Switzerland/France      Known for: painting, lithography

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Louise C. Breslau is primarily known as Marie-Louise-Catharine Breslau

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Biography from Schiller & Bodo European Paintings:
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Marie-Louise Catharine Breslau (1856-1927)

Born in Munich, 19-year old Breslau moved to Paris to attend classes at the Academie Julian.  A girl who was noted for her talent, confidence and inner strength, Breslau had been raised alone by her mother in Zurich after the death of her father in 1863.  With her mother’s support, in 1875 she began her classes at the women’s atelier of the Academie Julian under William Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury.  The Academie Julian was one of the few ateliers that accepted female students, and the only school that gave female students access to male models and allowed them to compete against male students for regular prizes: the Ecole des Beaux-Arts did not admit women until twenty-two years later, in 1897.  In addition to offering the best artistic training for women, it was one of the few places that was affordable to a woman without high social standing, and yet socially acceptable, and was recognized as a center open to Impressionism and Modern trends.  Breslau shared an apartment with three or four other female students and attended her daily classes.  Breslau also was confident to interact in Paris art circles, and gained advice and guidance from two of the most successful artists of the day, Edgar Degas and Jules Bastien-Lepage.  She very quickly distinguished herself for the realism and poignancy of her work, and by the 1880s was gaining the attention of critics.

In February of 1882, well-known critic for Le Figaro Albert Wolff wrote of Breslau in the Feuilleton de Figaro. He called her “a young woman of absolute talent whom I have followed for two years at the Salon and whose works struck me by their sincerity…Go tell amateurs to buy the works of a young woman who has much, but much talent.”  This mention lead to a commission to paint the daughter of Le Figaro’s director, and a steady flow of portrait commissions followed.  By 1900, Breslau had become one of the most sought-after portraitists in Paris.  She medaled at the Exposition Universelle in 1900, and was made Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur in 1901, one of the first women to be granted the award.

Museums:
Paris, Musée d’Orsay, Petit Palais, Musée des arts décoratifs; Bern Kunstmuseum; Musée de Carpentras; Céret, musée d’art moderne; Fontainebleau, Musée national du château; Geneva, Musées d’Art et d’Histoire; Lausanne, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts; Nantes, musée départemental Dobrée; Nice, Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Versailles, musée national des châteaux;

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