Maurice Bompard

French, 1857-1936 Biography

Maurice Bompard was born in 1857 Rodez, France. He was mostly known as a French orientalist painter who represented meticulously executed scenes from the Eastern daily life, as well as particularly magnificent views of Venice. At a very young age, he went to Marseille to study at the École des Beaux-Arts. He later he went to Paris where he studied fine arts under Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefèvre. In 1882, he won a scholarship allowing him to visit Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Spain. The influence of his journey to Spain can be noticed, with some reminiscences of architectural decorations, in the piece Harem in Granada, based on an imaginary scene, and of Tunisia with the piece Tunisia Butcher.

For Bompard, everything changed in an exhibition in 1890 with his first success, Les Bouchers de Chetma, which he presented at the Salon des artistes français. The painting was an evocation of a little oasis near Biskra, which he discovered on his wedding trip in Algeria, in 1889. From 1889 to 1893, Bompard stayed every winter at Biskra, taking advantage, as many other artists did, of the privilege of having the streets of Tilatou as his workshop. As a traveling painter, he also spent some time in the Sahara, creating images in a chromatic palette of white, ochre and orange, under a pristine blue sky. Some of his works were painted on wood in a small format, dematerializing even more the light on these pieces, often capturing Biskri's children wearing their red caps.

Because of the number of copies that he made for clients of his orientalist and colonial works, it's hard to set timelines for the completion of certain works. Several works by the artist have been sold at auction.

Some of his most important works are exhibited at the Musée Denys-Puech of Rodez, Museum d'Orsay and the Museum of Fine Arts of Marseille. In 1893, Bompard participated in the creation of the Society of Orientalist Painters, but it is also that year when, by feeling threatened during a trip to El Kantara, he decided not to return to Algeria. He became a painter of Venice were he remained most of his life, which assured him a much greater fame. Bompard died in 1936 in Paris.

Salon des Artistes Français, Paris, 1890

Musée Denys-Puech, Rodez, France
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France
Museum of Fine Arts, Marseille, France