Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Decamps, Alexandre Gabriel (1803-1860), a French painter born at Paris. At an early age he was sent to an out-of-the-way part of Picardy, and here - so he tells us in his autobiography - he forgot his Paris life, learnt bird's-nesting and orchard-robbing, and contracted that "grain of savagery" which never left him. He studied in a desultory sort of way, and his style gained in individuality what it lacked in finish. He did much lithographic drawing, and in 1824 he spent a summer in Switzerland without much result. He then went to the East, and afterwards produced many Oriental subjects, conspicuous among which are Les Baigneuses and La Lecture du Firman. He also produced a series of notable political caricatures, and an amusing set of monkeys imitating various human actions. His masterpiece has been considered the Defeat of the Cimbri, produced in 1834, which is sometimes put alongside Delacroix's Liberte and Delaroche's Cromwell. In 1839 he was made chevalier, and in 1851 officer of the Legion of Honour. He was killed in a hunting accident at Fontainebleau. He was a great colourist, and a good manager of light and shade, and had a quick method of working, his idea being at once formed and flowing as it were from his brush. "Manu promptus" one of his critics has said of him.