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Charles Chaplin (French, 1825-1891)


Also known as:  Chaplin, Charles Joshua

Paris's most popular mid-19th-century fashion painter, as well as Emperor Napoleon's favorite court painter during the 1860s, Charles Chaplin specialized in elegant portraits of women and children in the tradition of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. He trained at the École des Beaux-Arts under Michel Martin Drolling. In 1847 began regularly exhibiting at the Paris Salons and at the Royal Academy in London. Some of Chaplin's portraits, especially of women wearing diaphanous clothing, were deemed too erotic for the time; in fact, the Salon jury of 1859 rejected his Aurora as scandalous. Chaplin's more chaste and tender depictions of children no doubt influenced his most famous American pupil, Mary Cassatt, who studied in his atelier in 1866.

The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg; Louvre Museum, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Bowes Museum, County Durham, United Kingdom; Indianapolis Musem of Art; and Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, are among the prestigious museums housing paintings by Chaplin.

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