Jean Paul Laurens Gallery
was a French painter and sculptor, and one of the last major exponents of the French Academic style.
Born in Fourquevaux, he was a pupil of L??on Cogniet and Alexandre Bida. Strongly anti-clerical and republican, his work was often on historical and religious themes, through which he sought to convey a message of opposition to monarchical and clerical oppression. His erudition and technical mastery were much admired in his time, but in later years his hyper-realistic technique, coupled to a highly theatrical mise-en-sc??ne, came to be regarded as overly didactic and even involuntarily comical.
Laurens was commissioned to paint numerous public works by the French Third Republic, including the steel vault of the Paris city hall, the monumental series on the life of Saint Genevieve in the apse of the Panth??on, the decorated ceiling of the Od??on Theater, and the hall of distinguished citizens at the Toulouse capitol. He also provided illustrations for Augustin Thierry's R??cits des temps m??rovingiens ("Accounts of Merovingian Times").
Laurens was a professor at the École nationale sup??rieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he taught Andr?? Dunoyer de Segonzac and George Barbier. Two of his sons, Paul Albert Laurens (1870-1934) and Jean-Pierre Laurens (1875-1932), became painters and teachers at the Acad??mie Julian. He died in Paris in 1921.