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Hugues Merle (French painter) 1823 - 1881

Hugues Merle was a French painter who mostly depicted sentimental or moral subjects. He has often been compared with William-Adolphe Bouguereau. He was born in 1823 in Saint Martin. He studied painting with Léon Cogniet. Merle started exhibiting at the Salon (Paris) in 1847. He received second class prices in 1861 and 1863. In 1866 he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Hugues Merle became a friend of Paul Durand-Ruel's in the early 1860s. Durand-Ruel had started buying paintings by Merle in 1862 and introduced Merle to William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Merle would then often be compared to Bouguereau and even “became a considerable rival of Bouguereau in subject and treatment”. In the mid-1860s, Merle painted several portraits of Paul Durand-Ruel, his wife, and their son, John. Hugues Merle died in 1881 in Paris. His son, Georges Merle, was also a painter. 

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