Lepic, Ludovic-Napoléon

just started

Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic (1839-1889)



Was Lepic an Impressionist?



Vicomte Ludovic Napoléon Lepic at the Salon:

Lepic exhibited yearly at the Salon from 1863-88 (iR2). 1877: He was awarded a third-class medal (iR69;iR3;R87). He exhibits ‘exempté’ from 1882-88. (iR1) He also exhibited at the Exposition Universelle (R87). Some sources wrongly writes that he exhibited 1869 onwards (R16;iR69;iR70) and Dayez 1864 onwards (R87).
See exhibited pictures at the -/-Salon. See link for an account.


Lepic only joined the 1st and 2nd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 + 76:

At the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition Lepic showed 7 works (catalogue numbers 74-80), including 4 watercolours and 3 etchings (R2,p121). Lepic was invited by Degas (R9;R3;iR3). De Lora (1874/04/18) reviews: ‘among the most excellent landscapes we mention … the marines by M. Napoléon Lepic (R87,p257). Burty 1874/04/25) shortly mentions his watercolours (R87,p262). He is not mentioned by others (R87).
At the 2nd ‘impressionist’ exposition Lepic showed 43 works (catalogue numbers 102-137; some numbers contained more than one work) (R2,p162/3).
Some sources omit to mention that Lepic exhibited in 1874 (iR69) or in 1876 (aR1).
In 1878 Degas introduced the rule that one who had submitted to the Salon, was not allowed to join the ‘impressionist’ exposition (R2,p244). Walther writes this was the reason why Lepic didn’t exhibit any longer with the Impressionists (R3;iR3;aR1). But why did Lepic did not exhibit in 1877?
See link for his -/-exhibited-works. See link for an account.


Lepic as an artist:

Studies at the École des Beaux-Arts (R87). Lepic his teachers are Charles Verlat (an animal painter), le baron Gustaf Wappers, Gleyre and (1874 onwards) also of Cabanel (iR1;iR24;iR3;iR69;R3;R16). 1861 onwards: Lepic had his own studio (iR4;R4,p24). 1862/03-63: He studies with Monet and Bazille at Gleyre to improve himself (R22I,p48;R1,p70+273;R3;R4,p24;iR4). Bazille calls (1863/03/22) Lepic and Monet his best friends (R22I,p48). Did he also had contacts with Renoir and Sisley? Did he join them in their painting sessions in the forest of Fontainebleau?  He stayed befriended with Monet (R3). Also befriended with Degas, who also portrays him and with whom he shared several interests (R3;R8,p181;iR3). Befriended with Desboutin (R87). He is opposed to Cézanne joining the ‘impressionists’ expositions (R3). Caillebotte wrote to Pissarro (1881/01/24) that Lepic didn’t have talent (R101,p275;R1,p448;R3).
Francis Tattegrain (or Tettegrain;1852-1915) was his pupil (iR24;iR4).
Lepic often worked in Berck, Normandy, Holland and Naples (R9). Note: Boudin and Manet also painted in Berck (iR3). He was interested in the atmospheric variations (R9). Lepic painted many marines and fishing scenes (R9). He also was a sculptor (R74;iR24;iR70). He designed costumes for the Opéra (R87), especially for his mistress Marie Sanlaville who was a ballerina (iR3). Lepic loved opera (R8,p181). He decorated table service (R87). He also was a dog breeder (iR70). 


Lepic as an engraver:

1862: Lepic was a founder-member of the Société des Aquafortistes (iR70;iR3). Lepic (and Adolphe Appian and Henri Guérard) were experimenting in the 1860s and 1870s with tonal inking of plates; around 1875/6 Degas was influenced by this (iR7). He was influenced by Auguste Delâtre who developed the ‘mobile etching’ technique, a way of painting ink on to the plate so that up to 40 unique impressions could be made from the same plate. This skill influenced the practise of monotype used by Lepic (iR70). in 1876 Degas learned it from Lepic (iR70). Lepic reaches surprising effects with this new graphic technique, which was also called ‘l’eau-forte mobile’ (R3;R9). By varying the ink on the plate, he was able to produce individual results at each printing (iR3). He was carrying the potential of creative printing to its extreme and used bitten lines simply as suggestive guides for compositional variations executed entirely by plate wiping (iR70). In 1876 he publishes ‘comment je devins graveur à l’eau forte‘ (R87;iR4). Some call Lepic a good etcher, but a poor painter (R47,p72). 


Vicomte Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic, a short biography:

  • 1839/09/17: Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic was born in Paris (iR24;iR69;iR70;R9;R3;R1;R87). Wikipedia mentions he was born the 17th of December (iR3)
  • he was the son of a adjudant of the Emperor (R3;iR3).
  • 1865: marriage with Joséphine Scévole de Barral (iR3)
    They had 3 daughters: Eylau, Jeanine and Marcelle (iR4)
    (later the ballerina Marie Sanlaville (or Salanville) became his mistress; iR3;R47,p95)
  • 1869-76: he was member of the ‘Société d’anthropologie’ in Paris (iR3;iR70).
  • 1872: establishes the ‘Musée d’Aix-les-Bains’ (R9;R3;R87;iR3).
  • 1872: publishes ‘Les armes et les outils préhistoriques reconstitués’, about pre-historic arms and tools (iR3)
  • 1874+75: he lived rue de Larochefoucauld, 46 Paris (iR1;R2,p121).
  • 1875: his father died (iR3)
  • 1875: he received the title Comte; before he had the title Vicomte (iR3;aR1)
  • 1876-83: he lived Rue de Maubeuge, 25 Paris (iR1;R2,p162).
  • 1879: first solo-exhibition at ‘La Vie Moderne’ (R3); some mention he exhibited 35 works (iR4) others about 100 (iR3)
  • 1880-5: active in Holland (iR24)
  • travels to Egypt and Pompeï, also to practise archaeology (R3;R74)
  • 1881: publishes ‘La dernière Egypte’ an illustrated account of his archaeological trip to Egypt (iR3)
  • 1881: another solo exhibition at ‘La Vie Moderne’ with 100 works (iR4)
  • 1883: large exhibition with 150 works at the ‘Musée des Arts décoratifs’; mostly watercolours (R9;R3;iR3)
  • 1883: he officially was appointed a marine painter by the state (iR3;aR1)
  • 1884+85: he lived cité Malesherbes, 5, Paris (iR1).
  • 1886-8: his correspondence address for the Salon was M. Mary, 25, Rue Chaptal, Paris (iR1)
  • 1889/12/27: Lepic died in Paris (iR24;iR69;iR70;R3;R16); Wikipedia mentions he died the 27th of October (iR3;iR4). Other sources he died in 1890 (R87).
  • He was interred in the vault of the family property at Andrésy (iR3).
  • 1897/03/20: auction of paintings and objects from the studio of ‘Le Pic’ (iR24)
  • x




My main sources are Rewald (1873=R1), Moffett (1986, R2), Walther (2013=R3,p674/5), Roe (2006=R5), Schurr&Cabanne (2008=R9,p468), Spiess (1992=R16,p177), Dayez (1874=R87,p239), the Salon database (iR1), Wikipedia (iR3), the RKD (iR24), Bénézit (iR69), Grove (iR70) and the additional references (=aRx). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are Wikimedia (iR6) and xx. 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:
Bénézit (1976,vol.6,p593=R75;1999,vol.8,p537=R76), Busse (1977,p753=R77); Witt (1978,p174=R78); Thieme/Becker (1907-50,vol.23,p100=R79); Allgemeines Künstlerlexicon (1999-2000,vol.6,p200=R81). (iR24)
Zimmer, Thierry: Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic, 1839-1889; Le Patron. Exhibition catalogue. Musée de Berck-sur-Mèr, 2013. (216p;in French) (iR24;iR4)


Additional references:

  1. Vanished French Impressionists 7 (an article on Lepic and others=iR35)
  2. gallica.bnf.fr//henri_beraldi_tome_9 (the entire 9th Volume of Henri Beraldi: Les graveurs du XIXe siècle with works of Lepic; =iR40 = R85IX)
  3. x