Paul Eduard Henry Avril
1928 Le Raincy
Paul Avril was born Édouard-Henri Avril on May 21, 1849, in Algiers to one of the great French artist families of the 19th and 20th centuries. From 1871 until 1873, Avril studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Marseille and went to the École des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1874. Beginning in 1878, he exhibited his highly graphically accurate paintings, which he signed "E. Avril," in the Paris salons. Avril next worked increasingly as an illustrator for bibliophilic luxury editions, which appeared only in small print runs, with which he made his contribution toward the development of French book illustration. The stimulus for Avril's change was a commission from the Société des Amis des Livres for 80 vignettes for Théophile Gautier's "Fortunio." For these illustrations, he chose the moniker "Paul Avril," which leads to the confusion with his brother of the same name (Paul-Victor Avril), who had no part in the drawings. Exemplary of Avril's illustrations were those done for Gustave Flaubert's "Salammbô" und Théophile Gautier's "Le Roi Caundale," which were engraved by his brother.