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PAul de Longpre
Paul de Longpre was born in Lyon, France in 1855 to the Maucherat de Longpre family. The textile-design industry was an important commercial sector in Lyon, and there were numerous artists known for their skills at painting flowers. He was certainly exposed to their works as a child, and was likely inspired by the subject matter as he began drawing floral images at a very young age. By the age of 12, de Longpre was earning an income painting flowers on fans for a Parisian firm.
He became a student in Paris at the respected Ecole des Beaux Arts and his paintings were becoming more popular and were enjoyed by a larger audience. His early success continued with acceptance of a painting by the Paris Salon. De Longpre was a well known artist in Paris when he moved to New York in 1890.
His artistic skills continued to develop during this period while he worked as a commercial illustrator and created plein-air paintings in the surrounding non-urban areas. He was also considered to be a talented musician, composing sixteen works between 1891 and 1907. His artistic career continued to grow and his works were praised by the public at his first New York exhibition in 1896. He began to reproduce his most popular works as lithographs, which reached a broader audience and increased his fame and celebrity. Large numbers of these prints survive today.
Attracted by the beauty of the landscape and the variety of flowers in Southern California, de Longpre and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1898. By this point in his career, he was a relatively wealthy man and was able to build an extravagant home there at Cahuenga and Hollywood Boulevard. The large estate included tended gardens that became a tourist attraction, drawing some 25,000 visitors each year. Painting floral scenes almost exclusively with watercolors, de Longpre found inspiration in the 4,000 rose bushes he had on his estate. His fame increased and a street was even named after him, De Longpre Avenue in Hollywood.
He was an industrious and very active artist throughout this period of his career as he continued to produce chromolithographic prints and taught students the nuances of watercolor painting. He died at the relatively young age of fifty-six, famous and popular, and is remembered to this day as “The King of Flower Painters”.
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For additional information about the artist’s home in Los Angeles: Paul de Longpre - The King of Flower Painters