Jules Achille Noël
(1815 - 1881)
Noël was born in Quimper but his family came from Lorraine. His first drawing lessons came from his father, a draftsman who worked on the Brest-Nantes canal. He went on to study in Brest at the Acedemie de Peinture et de Dessins. Having graduated from there he moved to Paris where he worked in the studio of fellow Breton artist, Pierre-Julien Gilbert before taking various teaching positions, at Saint-Pol-de-Léon, Lorient and Nantes. Noël exhibited at the Paris Salon between 1840-1845 where his work caught the eye of Prince Louis, Duke of Nemours, second son of King Louis-Philippe I. This royal patronage helped him secure the post of Professor of Design at the prestigious Lycee Henry IV in Paris where he taught for over thirty years. During the school vacations, Noël would return to his native Brittany and depict life along the coastline; the wealthy citizens of Paris on the beach, as well as the intense toil of the major ports. Noël’s highly atmospheric work was painted with great vibrancy and movement along with meticulous attention to detail, and in many ways can be seen as a precursor to Boudin. Following his retirement from teaching Noël began to suffer from poor health so he travelled to Algeria to live with his daughter and son-in-law until his death in 1881. The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper held a major retrospective of his work in 2005. His works can be found in museums in: Paris, Bernay, Brest, Briançon, Castres, Chantilly, Chartres, Chaumont, La Rochelle and Reims.