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Charles Joshua Chaplin 1825-1891 | French academic painter

Charles Joshua Chaplin was a french academic painter and engraver. His father was english and his mother french, and he only became a naturalized Frenchman in 1886, although he worked in France all his life. He was a pupil at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1840, and he regularly visited the studio of Michel-Martin Drolling, whose pupils included Paul Baudry, Jean-Jacques Henner and Jules Breton. In 1845 he entered the Salon as a portrait and landscape painter with his Portrait of the Artist's Mother. His early works, from 1848-1851, are characterized by a concern for realism which had been restored to fashion by the Second Republic: he painted the landscape of the Auvergne, showing a regionalism that is found also, for example, in works by Adolphe Leleux and Armand Leleux. Chaplin soon rejected this early manner in favour of a more supple and gracious style that ensured him fame as a portrait painter. His portraits of women, often half-length, with half-clad models posed slightly erotically in misty settings, appealed to society in the Third Republic and ensured his success, although his genre pictures are the most important part of his painted work. As a decorator, Chaplin painted the ceiling and panels over the doors of the Salon des Fleurs in the Tuileries in 1861, as well as part of the decoration for the Salon de l'Hemicycle in the Palais de l'Elysee. Chaplin conducted art classes specifically for women at his studio. The american artist Mary Cassatt and the english artist Louise Jopling were among Chaplin's students.