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Paul Grolleron (1848-1901)

Paul-Louis-Narcisse Grolleron (1848-1901)

The French painter and illustrator, Paul Grolleron, remains best known for his many well-observed images of the Franco-Prussian war, which varied in mood between the quotidian, the dramatic and the poignant.

Paul Grolleron was born in Seignelay, in the Yonne department of Burgundy, France, on 14 June 1848. He intended to become a decorative artist, but his studies in Paris under the influential teacher and portrait painter, Léon Bonnat, led him to specialise in genre paintings, which he exhibited at the Salon from 1873.

Increasingly he focussed on historical and military subjects, and particularly scenes of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, which were appreciated by both the public and the academic juries. he won a third class medal at the Salon of 1886, a bronze medal at the exposition Universelle of 1889, and a second class medal ‘hors concours’ at the Salon of 1894.

By 1885, Grolleron was living at 49 rue Lemercier in the Batignolles quarter, just west of Montmartre, while by 1893, he had moved four streets away to 66 Rue Boursault. The Batignolles quarter was popular with artists at this time. He was one of a small group of painters who were inspired by the picturesque qualities of the Morbihan area of Brittany.

Paul Grolleron died suddenly in Paris on 28 October 1901. He is said to have been married to the actress, Marthe Dufrêne, who died in 1904.

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