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 Alfred L. Boisseau  (1823 - 1901)

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Lived/Active: Louisiana/Ohio / Canada      Known for: portrait, genre, landscape painting, dagguerreotypes

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Ad Code: 3
Alfred L. Boisseau
Created 1869
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Alfred Boisseau

Lived / Active
Louisiana, Ohio, New York, and Montreal, Canada

Louisiana Indians Walking along a Bayou has been called the “grandest of all paintings of the Southern Indians.” Alfred Boisseau exhibited it and two others at the 1848 Paris Salon. He was born February 1823 in Paris, studied under Paul Delaroche (1797-1856), and was admitted to the School of Fine Arts in 1838. Judges selected his work for exhibition at the prestigious Salon when he was only 19. In the mid-1840s, he traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, where his brother was secretary to the French consul. Alfred returned to France around 1848 about the time his father, a respected lithographer, died. After he exhibited in the 1848 Salon, he sailed to New York, probably with his bride Adele. Of his portraits, a New York City critic wrote, “Boisseau is unequalled. He clearly merits a position at the peak of his profession.”

In 1850, Alfred and Adele lived in eastern Ohio with their infant daughter. Eventually the family moved to Cleveland where Alfred became an American citizen and where two sons were born. As the Civil War tore apart their adopted country, the Boisseaus retreated to Canada. In Montreal, Alfred was a founder of the Society of Canadian Artists and the Canadian Institute. He exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts of Montreal and the Royal Canadian Academy. By 1885, he was a professor of fine art. He painted genre scenes of life in Montreal. Among the politicians, artists, musicians, and actors whose portraits he painted were the prominent Papineau family, whose patriarch, Louis Joseph, was the city’s mayor.

By 1880, Adele had died and his children were scattered across the country. Boisseau became more peripatetic. He traveled to Ottawa, to Buffalo where he opened a studio, and to Manitoba to see his son Alfred François, a hotel keeper in Selkirk.

Alfred Boisseau died 7 October 1901, in Buffalo, New York.

Museums that own his work include the New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana State University Museum of Ar, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio; Musée Des Beaux-Arts De Montréal; Portrait Gallery Of Canada, Ottawa, Canada; and the Library And Archives Of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.

Submitted by Patricia Moss, Fine Art Investigations, Long Beach, Washington


William H. Gerdts, Revealed masters: 19th century American art: [catalogue of] an exhibition organized by American Federation of Arts, New York (American Federation of Arts, 1974)

David Karel, “Boisseau, Alfred,” Dictionnaire des artistes de langue française en Amérique du Nord: peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs, graveurs, photographes, et orfèvres (Presses Université Laval, 1992)

Seventh Census of the United States: Lawrence, Tuscarawas, Ohio, October 30, 1950, Roll: M432_734; Page: 187B, Household of Alfred Boisseau, lines 34-36; National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.

Index Cards to Naturalization Petitions for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Cleveland, 1855-1967; Microfilm Serial: M1893; Microfilm Roll: 3, Certificate 751

1871 Census of Canada, Census Place: East Ward, Montreal Centre, Quebec; Roll: C-10040; Page: 5; Family No: 18

1881 Census of Canada,: Centre Ward, Montreal City, Quebec; Roll: C_13217; Page: 14; Family No: 70

Buffalo City Directory, 1901 (Buffalo, New York, Courier Publishing, 1901), 1435

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
Alfred Boisseau was born in Paris and studied with the noted French academic painter, Paul Delaroche. He later showed at the Paris Salon. Though little is known of his life, he resided in New Orleans between 1845 and 1848, and was probably drawn to the city because his brother served as secretary to the French consul.

He exhibited two works at the 1849 National Academy of Design in New York, a portrait and a Creole landscape, and he then appeared in Cleveland in 1852, where he advertised as a portrait and landscape painter, art teacher, and art dealer and remained until 1859. He settled in Montreal in 1860, where he was known to produce portraits of local society, and died in Buffalo in 1901. VAL

This essay is copyrighted by the Charleston Renaissance Gallery and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from the Hicklin Galleries, LLC.

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