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Francois-Claudius Compte-Calix

Biography of Artist

Francois-Claudius Compte-Calix 

1813 - 1880

Francois-Claudius Compte-Calix was born in Lyon on August 27, 1813 and died in Chazay d’Azergues on July 29, 1880. French painter and lithographer He received his formal training at the Beaux-Arts de Lyon from 1829 to 1833 under Professor Claude Bonnefond (1796-1860). Compte-Calix returned to the Academy to further his studies and teach drawing from 1835 to 1836. During his formative period he earned a living as a drawing-master at Thoissey (1829-31) and in the Pensionnat de la Favorite in Lyon (1832-6).He debuted at the Salon de Lyon in1837 with a watercolour, Portrait de l’autuer et La résistance and at the Paris Salon of 1840 with La Sœur cadette, époque Louis XIII et La resemblance which launched him on his career as one of the most successful genre painters of the July Monarchy. Compte-Calix soon became a regular exhibitor at the Salons. He exhibited portraits, romantic genre scenes and anecdotal historical scenes and devised grand decorative schemes, notably that of Algiers Cathedral.

His pleasant colours and appealing sentimentality and prettiness combined in a style that met the poetic and emotional aspirations of the public of the time. This meant, however, that he was scorned on the whole by critics, but remained popular with publishers, collectors, dealers and the public. His work in Paris retained the poetic and sentimental bias of the Lyon school, epitomizing the international Biedermeier manner of the early 19th century. During the July Monarchy (1830-48) he modified the hard Dutch-inspired manner of Bonnefond, using the freer and lighter touch which was fashionable during this period among a number of genre painters who took their inspiration from 18th-century scenes. Compte-Calix became a very successful engraver, his style of etching was easily adapted to his paintings. He was commissioned to illustrate numerous books and several romantic books of poetry.

Leipzig Museum, Un religieux en garde national au service de la République
Lyon Museum, Les sœurs de lait
Roanne Museum Pavy (Louis-Antoine-Auguste)
E. Benezit, Grund vol. III, pg. 130
Dictionnaire des Petits Maîtres de la peinture 1820-1920, Gérald Schurr & Pierre Cabanne, vol. I, pg. 287, illustrated pg. 287