Couture, Thomas

BORN 21 Dec 1815, Senlis - DIED 30 Mar 1879, Villiers-le-Bel (castle near Paris)
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 04, ligne 01)

Thomas Couture studied in Paris at the École des Arts et Métiers and at the École des Beaux-Arts. He was a pupil of Paul Delaroche and Antoine-Jean Gros. He failed to win the Prize of Rome on six occasions, but never doubted himself and finally succeeded in 1837.

He was a supporter of the academic tradition and considered his contemporaries 'drunken clowns'. However, his techniques were modern. His historical and genre pictures won him several medals and his "Romans in the Decadence of the Empire" (1847, Musee d'Orsay, Paris) was a huge success. At a certain time Couture rejected Manet from his studio because Manet wanted to paint the models with their clothes on instead of nude (the classical way).

In 1860 he returned to his native Senlis for a while, where he was a teacher to young painters. He published a book on his own ideas and methods in 1867. After his death his reputation faded and in the twentieth century his larger works were regarded as too bombastic.

Related persons
• was pupil of Delaroche, Paul
• influenced Feuerbach, Anselm
• was pupil of Gros, Antoine-Jean
• has a connection with Manet, Édouard
• was teacher of Michael, Max
• worked for Napoleon III Bonaparte
• used as a model Ozy, Alice
• was teacher of Purkyne, Karel
• was teacher of Puvis de Chavannes, Pierre


The grave of Thomas Couture at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (28 Aug 2001)


• Culbertson, Judi & Tom Randall, Permanent Parisians, Robson Books, London, 1991
Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
Thomas Couture - Wikipedia

Coveri, Enrico

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 25 Apr 2022