Eugène Louis Lami

Dates1800 - 1890

Eugène Lami first studied painting with Horace Vernet, who in 1817 sent him to study with Baron Antoine-Jean Gros at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. There he met Thèodore Gèricault and learned the art of watercolor painting from the English Romantic, R. P. Bonington. Much of Lami's early work was in lithography, which had only recently become a commercially viable medium. Between 1819 and 1821 he produced numerous lithographs depicting the Spanish cavalry, as well as a large series illustrating the uniforms of the French Army. Lami's paintings of military subjects caught the attention of royalty and he quickly established ties to the French court. Louis-Philippe commissioned him to make a number of military paintings for the chateau at Versailles, which the King turned into a museum in 1837. At this point, Lami began to concentrate on court life, painting scenes of the bourgeoisie. He then turned to watercolor, which would remain his favorite medium for the rest of his life. In his later years, he became increasingly interested in depicting historical events. At the age of seventy-nine, Lami helped establish the Society of French Watercolorists. He continued to work until his death at the age of ninety.