Albert Dubois-Pillet (1846-1890)

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    Biography

    Albert Dubois-Pillet was a career army officer and a self-taught artist who became a member of the Neo-Impressionists.

    Albert Dubois-Pillet was born in 1846 in Paris before his family moved to Toulouse. In 1867 he graduated from l'Ecole Impériale Militaire in Saint-Cyr and started his military career by serving in the Franco-Prussian War, where he was captured by the German army and held as a prisoner of war. After his release he resumed his post in the Versailles army, however painting was never far from his mind. Although self-taught Dubois-Pillet proved himself to be a talented artist when two of his still life paintings were accepted into the official Salons of 1877 and 1879, however his work was rejected for the next four years. As a result he joined a group of artists who established the Société des Artistes Indépendants. Fellow member Georges Seurat became a close friend and was a great influence on Dubois-Pillet, who subsequently became one of the first artists to adpot the pointillist manner of lanscape painting before applying these principles to portraiture. His studio-apartment became the unofficial Neo-Impressionist headquarters during the movements early years.

    Dubois-Pillet was excluded from the final Impressionist exhibition of 1886 and as a result submitted ten paintings to the Salon des Indépendants the same year and nine the following. He remained closely associated with the Artistes Indépendants until the end of his life, despite orders by the army to discontinue his participation in exhibiting his art. In 1887 Dubois-Pillet left the army to concentrate on his art and held his only solo exhibition at La Revue Indépendante in 1888. The following year he returned to the military as commander of the local gendarmerie in Le Puy-en-Velay. While serving he contracted smallpox and died in 1890 aged only forty-three. A year after his death a posthumous exhibition of sixty-four of his works was organised by Paul Signac and presented at the Salon des Indépendants. Unfortunately a large proportion of Dubois-Pillet's work was later lost in a fire and today his paintings and drawings remain quite rare.