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(b Nantes, 15 Oct. 1836; d Château de Buillon, nr. Besançon, 8 Aug. 1902). French painter, illustrator, and printmaker. Originally he was called Jean-Jacques, but he took the name James as an expression of his Anglophilia. Early in his career he painted historical costume pieces, but in about 1864 he turned with great success to scenes of contemporary life, usually involving stylish women. Following his alleged involvement in the turbulent events of the Paris Commune (1871) he moved to London, where he lived from 1871 to 1882. He was just as successful there as he had been in Paris and lived in some style in fashionable St John's Wood: in 1874 Edmond de Goncourt wrote sarcastically that he had ‘a studio with a waiting room where, at all times, there is iced champagne at the disposal of visitors, and around the studio, a garden where, all day long, one can see a footman in silk stockings brushing and shining the shrubbery leaves’.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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