Private collection, New York
Jules Joseph Lefebvre was born in Tournan, Siene-et-Marne May 14, 1836. In
1852 he began his formal training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts as a pupil of Jules
Louis Philippe Cogniet (1798-1860). Upon completing his studies, Lefebvre
travelled to Italy to study. In 1861, he debuted and won the Prix de Rome. It
was not until three years later that he debuted at the Paris Salon.
After his return to France in 1867, he was increasingly successful, receiving the
first award of the Legion d’Honneur in 1870, becoming a member of the
Institute in 1891, and rising to commandeur of the Legion d’Honneur in 1898.
He was awarded the medal of honour at the 1886 Salon and a grand prix at the
1889 Exposition Univserselle. At the Alexander Dumas Sale of May 13, 1892,
Lefebvre’s Feeme nue realized 25,000 francs. It was his teaching activities,
particularly at the Academic Julian, which made him a figure of renown and
respect amongst Salon applicants. Lefebvre himself was a stalwart Salon
exhibitor. He died in Paris, February 24, 1911.
Lefebvre is best known for his painting of single figures of beautiful women,
like our Portrait of Madame Colin-Libour . The sitter, Uraine-Alphonsine Colin-
Libour was also a French artist born in 1833 and was a contemporary of