Reproducing the everyday oriental life and scenery with a bold fidelity to nature, the French Romantic Painter, Alexandre- Gabriel Decamps, is remembered as one of the most influential painter on Orientalism.
One of the first French painters of the 19th century to turn from Neoclassicism to Romanticism, Alexandre Decamps was born on March 3, 1803, in Paris, France. In his youth Decamps travelled in the East, revealed Middle East world through his paintings. Initially his work puzzled the conventional critics but soon his powers came to be recognized, and he was ranked along with Eugène Delacroix and Joseph Vernet as one of the leaders of French painting.
Embracing a wide range of subjects, Decamps was perhaps one of the first European painters to represent biblical scenes with natural local background. On this class were his ‘Joseph Sold by His Brethren' (1838), ‘Moses Taken from the Nile' (1837), and his scenes from the life of Samson, consisting of nine vigorous sketches in charcoal and white. The most impressive of his historical pictures was ‘Defeat of the Cimbrians' (1833). In 1885, Decamps received the grand or council medal at the Paris Exhibition.
Decamps’s style was characteristically and intensely French. It was marked by vivid dramatic conception, by a manipulation bold and rapid, sometimes even to roughness, and especially by original and startling use of decided contrasts of colors and of light and shade.
Decamps produced a number of genre pictures, chiefly of scenes from French and Algerine domestic life with a marked feature of humour. Similarly, in various paintings and sketches he depicted such animals as dogs, horses and monkeys with a marvelous humour. Probably the best known of all his works is ‘The Experts' (1837), a clever satire of the jury of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, which had rejected several of his earlier works.Decamps passed most of his life in the neighborhood of Paris. He was passionately fond of animals, especially dogs, and indulged in all kinds of field sports. He died on the 22nd of August 1860 in consequence of being thrown from a vicious horse while hunting at Fontainebleau.