Image: La Baigneuse (1864 painting, aka The Bather) by Jules Laurens
Jules Auguste Joseph Laurens (1825-1901) is a French painter and lithographer, known for his Orientalist paintings, portraits of peasants and landscape. Born in a family of five children, at the age of twelve Jules joined his older brother, Jean Joseph Bonaventure Laurens, a French artist based in Montpellier.
From 1846 to 1849 he traveled as a draftsman to Eastern Europe, Greece, Turkey and Persia, as part of a scientific mission led by the geographer Xavier Hommaire de Hell. Despite the failure of the mission because of the death Hommaire Hell in Isfahan, Jules brought back hundreds of sketches (historical monuments and daily life of the inhabitants of these regions), drawings and watercolors that would serve his artistic activity.
From 1850-1880 he worked in Paris and regularly participated in the Salon and other exhibitions, and received orders for work, including that of Madame Hommaire de Hell, after she read the notes of her late husband.
In 1880 he published a biography of his brother, and reflected upon the art and related matters of the times, and wrote on the important people he met, such as Victor Hugo, Ingres, Gustave Dore, etc.
He contributed greatly to the development of the Bibliothèque Inguimbertine and Museums of Carpentras. As an avid collector, he donated to the institution many notable works of contemporary artists such as Victor Hugo, Ingres, Auguste Bonheur, Eugene Ciceri, Gustave Dore, etc.