Lamy, Franc

Impressionism, the partakers of the expositions:

Franc Lamy (1855-1919)

born: Pierre-Désiré-Eugène Franc

More than a friend of Renoir



Was Franc Lamy an impressionist?
Franc Lamy only joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions one time in 1877. In that sense he did not belong to the ‘impressionist’ art-movement. But Frank Lamy did have many contacts within the impressionist circles. He belonged to a group of friends around Renoir, for whom he also modelled. He frequented Café de la Nouvelle-Athènes and joined the dinners at Murer, where he met other impressionists. In 1881 he succeeded in joining his impressionist friends in a benefit auction for the composer Cabaner. In this sense you could say that Frank-Lamy was part of the ‘impressionist’ art-movement.
It was Renoir who stimulated him to abandon the dark colours of his early paintings (R9). He modelled for Renoir (1876).


Lamy (Franc) only joined the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877:
At the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877 Franc Lamy showed 4 works (catalogue numbers 76-79) (R2,p204). It were 4 city views with a global indication of place. Two with a specific indication of influence of sunlight, which indicates a impressionistic painting style. He was invited by Renoir to join (iR4).
See link for his -/- pictures and for an account.

Pierre-Désiré-Eugène-Franc Lamy at the Salon:
Lamy mostly was called Pierre-Désiré-Eugène-Franc Lamy and sometimes Franc-P.-D.-E. Lamy. He exhibited yearly at the Salon from 1879 until 1905 (iR1). He received several awards at the Salon (iR4;iR3).
See link for his -/- pictures and for an account.


(Pierre-) Franc Lamy as an artist:
1872-75: Franc-Lamy was a pupil of Isidore Pils, together with Cordey and Goeneutte (iR1;R9;R88;iR69;iR3;iR4;iR5;aR3). In 1873 he officially entered the École des Beaux-Arts (iR5;iR4). 1875: after the death of Pils, Franc Lamy, Cordey and Goeneutte became pupil of Henri Lehmann (iR4;iR5;R16;iR22;R1,p384). Probably in 1876 they switched classes and became pupil of Jean-Léon Gérôme (iR4;iR5;iR1;R9;iR24;R16;R88;aR3). Together with his friend Cordey (and Norbert Goeneutte) he resisted against the classical teachings of the Ecole des Beaux-arts and asked Manet to be his pupils in a ‘free studio’; Manet refused (R1,p384/5;R88;R3;iR5).
According to Georges Rivière (1921) Renoir, Franc Lamy, Cordey, Goeneutte and later on Desboutin were an inseparable group of friends (iR4;R9;iR5). Together with Cordey, Rivière, Lestringuez, DuretChocquet and Edmond Maître (a writer / musician), Frank-Lamy gathered in the garden of Renoir’s house in the Rue Cortot and in his studio on the Rue Saint-Georges. Many of them helped to carry everyday the canvas on which Renoir would paint his famous ‘Moulin de la Galette‘, on which most of them also were portrayed (R1,p384-6;R16;R8,p246;R88;R82,p22-3; see). According to Sue Roe, it was Lamy who stimulated Renoir to do the painting on the spot (R4,p163). Sue Roe writes that Lamy and Rivière painted side by side with Renoir (R4,p164) and Cordey and Lamy also would paint the scenery of his brightly coloured garden (R4,p166). Sue Roe claims that Renoir knew Cordey, Frank-Lamy and Norbert Goenuette from his time at Atelier Gleyre (R4,p161), this was from 1861-64, but by than they were less than 11 years old.
Frank-Lamy regularly visited Café de la Nouvelle-Athènes (R3;iR5;R9;R88). Cordey and Frank-Lamy later joined the wednesday dinners at Eugène Murer, which were also frequented by Cézanne, Guillaumin, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley and also Guérard (Eva Gonzalès’ husband), the etcher Bresdin (Redon’s master), Cabaner (a musician), ChampleuryHoschedé and Père Tanguy  (R1,p414;R88). He also had connections with Nina de Callias (who was his lover for some time), Charles Cros (a poet), Cabaner, dr Gachet, Mallarmé,  Villiers de L’Isle-Adam (whom he depicted on his deathbed), Léon Dierx, Maurice Rollinata (R88;R9;iR5;iR4). Franc-Lamy made illustrations at the poems of Charles Cros and de Richepin (R88). Note: Nina de Callias was born as Anne-Marie Gaillard (1843-84) and also known as Nina de Villard; from 1862-82 she had a musical salon, where also Cabaner and Cros (who also was her lover)  visited (iR3;iR256); it was depicted by Franc-Lamy.
It was Renoir who stimulated him to abandon the dark colours of his early paintings (R9). Franc Lamy painted landscapes, especially of Versailles, Brugge and Italy (R9;R3;iR4;iR65). His watercolours made in Venice and Holland have a lot of freshness (R88). He also was specialized in portraits (of elegant lady’s) and nudes (iR4;R3;iR5). He also worked as an illustrator; he did some work for the musician Cabaner (R3;iR5;iR4). After 1877 he made decorative art (iR69;R16). He painted lovely paintings with fresh colours (R9). Duret writes in 1878 that he is one of the artists closely linked to the 5 key Impressionists (R142,p131/2), but he a later edition he leaves him out (R7). In his later years Franc Lamy painted in a more classical style, but kept the freshness and lightness of his impressionistic years (R9;R88). His paintings ‘Le conseil de révision’ (musée de Clermont-Ferrand) and ‘Au fond des bois’ (musée de Nice) combine a somewhat academic realism with an impressionist technique (R88). It was Frank-Lamy, through a translated work about the painter Cennino Cennini, who made Renoir turn to Classicism around 1882 (R88). Roger-Milès (1904) first praises the accuracy of his execution, of his ‘hand’, but criticises the development of his ‘eye’. Later on, he acknowledged, that Franc Lamy also succeeded in rendering emotion in his works, rendering the soul of a landscape. He praises the landscapes he exhibited in 1904 as ‘vibrant paintings, with such a beautiful glow’. (aR4).
Note: It is important to discern Franc Lamy from Pierre-Auguste Lamy, an etcher, who was born in Paris and exhibited in the 1860’s and 70’s at the Salon and of François-Edouard Lamy, who was born in Salin and of a Herman-Blanc Lamy who exhibited at the Salon-des-Refuses in 1886. (iR1).


A biography of Pierre Désiré Eugène Franc Lamy:

  • 1855/05/12: Pierre Désiré Eugène Franc was born in Clermont-Ferrand (iR24;R88)
    he later changed his name in Franc-Lamy (R3)
  • Franc Lamy was raised in Paris (iR4)
  • 1875: makes a copy of the ‘last judgement’ of Michelangelo (aR3)
  • 1876: Roger-Milès wrongly writes that Franc Lamy joined the impressionists in 1876 at their ‘first exposition’ (aR3)
  • 1876: Franc Lamy joines the army and makes pictures of soldiers (aR3)
  • 1878: installed a studio at Rue des Moines, 82 in Paris (iR4)
  • 1879?-81: Franc Lamy lived at the Rue Lemercier, 79 in Paris (iR1;iR4)
  • 1880: Member (Sociétaire) of the ‘Société des Artistes Français’ (iR69;iR4;R3;R16); exhibits at their Salon (iR1).
  • 1881/05/14: A by Franc Lamy initiated benefit auction in Hôtel Drouot for his sick friend, composer and art-collector Ernest Cabaner, stricking with consumption, to raise money to send him on a cure at Amélie-les-Bains; the catalogue contained 38 paintings, which raised 2500fr (R88I,p88;R116I,p172;aR2;iR4). There were 2 works of himself auctioned: no. 20 Paysage (aquarelle); no.21 Fleurs (aR2).
  • 1881-92: lived at the Rue capron, 35 in Paris (iR1;iR4)
  • 1889: receives a mention honorable at the Exposition Universelle (iR4;R3;R88)
  • 1893: appointed Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (iR4) or in 1892 (iR5)
  • 1893: lived at the Rue Brunel, 18 in Paris (iR4)
    later on: lived at the Rue Juliette-Lamber, 5 in Paris (iR4)
    and: Cité Pigalle, 5 in Paris (iR4)
  • 1900: received a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle (iR4;R3;R9)
  • 1904/03/01-22: exhibition of 102 works made in Venice (21x), Holland (47x) and Brugge (34x) (aR4)
  • Yvonne Delangle-Marevery, born in Rochefort studied under Franc Lamy (iR69).
  • Franc Lamy possessed a collection of old drawings from the 18th century (iR65)
    1912/11/25-26: 201 old drawings and 14 old paintings were auctioned (iR65;iR5;iR4)
  • 1914: appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur (iR4;iR5)
  • 1919/03/14 Franc Lamy died in Paris (iR24;R88)
  • 1919/07/7-10: from his studio 185 paintings, 68 watercolours, 77 drawings and 7 engravings were auctioned (iR65); it is not indicated what were own works and what was bought by him
  • 1919/12/11-12:  231 works from the Franc Lamy collection were auctioned. Including 8 paintings of Franc Lamy himself; 22 paintings from old and modern artists; 40 pastels / watercolours / drawings; 17 engravings (iR65).


Many books about Impressionism don’t mention Franc Lamy at all (R5;R6;R8;R14;R15;R17;R19;R21;R22;R86;R94;R95). It is a pity there is no English Wikipedia page about Franc Lamy. My main sources are the (short) monographs of Walther (2013=R3,p662), Schurr & Cabanne (2008,p304=R9), Spiess (1992,p169=R16), Monneret (1978-81I,p253/4=R88). Other sources are: Rewald (1973=R1,p384-6+391+414), Moffett (1986, R2,p204), Walther (2013, R3,p199), Roe (2006=R4,p161+163+164+166), Pissarro&Durand-Ruel (2005=R116I,p172), the Salon database (iR1), Wikipedia (iR4;iR5), RKD (iR24), Bénézit (iR69),  and Marques (iR65). For other general references (=R) see. In books about Impressionism there are almost no paintings of Frank-Lamy, except in Walther (R3,p370). Some refer to him as a model in paintings of others (R1,p383). My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are the Athenaeum (R2), Wikimedia (iR6), mutualart (iR11), artnet (iR13), Joconde (iR23), iment (aR1) and Google images (iR10). For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.
For further reading see:
Bénézit (1976,vol.VI,p412=R75), Busse (1977,p720=R77), Witt (1978,p167=R78), Thieme & Becker (vol.22,p279=R79), Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (1999,vol.6,p40=R81) (iR24)
Paulme, Marius (ed.): Catalogue de dessins, aquarelles, gouaches, tableaux de la collection de monsieur Franc Lamy. Paris, 1912.

Additional references:

  1. (shortly mentions Franc Lamy and renders several black and white images)
  2. (Franc Lamy role in the 1881 Drouot auction benefit for the composer Cabaner)
  3. (shows 3 works of Franc Lamy)
  4. (exposition 1904/03/01 of his works made in Holland, Venice and Brugge, with introduction by L. Roger-Milès; =iR19)
  5. (overview page on Franc Lamy of the Bibliothèque National de France; =iR26)
  6. (Danish auction catalogue with several plates of Franc Lamy; =iR258)
  7. “Frank Lamy.” In Database of Modern Exhibitions (DoME). European Paintings and Drawings 1905-1915. Last modified Jun 22, 2020.  =iR261; overview of contributions of Frank Lamy in exhibitions and auctions from 1905-1915 (2 entries)
  8. x



Recommanded citation: “Franc Lamy, more than a friend of Renoir”. Last modified 2021/07/13.