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Jean-Jacques Henner (1829-1905)


Jean-Jacques Henner was born in Alsace, France, and studied in Strasbourg, and then at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Picot and Drolling. During this time, he excelled and was particularly interested in portraiture. He would typically sign his paintings "Henner," sometimes on the front, and sometimes on the back of his canvas. During frequent trips home, Henner would use his family and friends as his subjects, and had a particular attraction to painting women with red hair. Painting redheads and nudes with red hair would become his calling card, and gained him great notoriety in his time.

The Reader

Portrait of a Young Lady

A Red Haired Beauty

Femme en Priere

Henner won the Prix de Rome in 1848 for his painting of "Adam and Eve Finding the Body of Abel." Due to this win, Henner was able to study in Rome until 1859, where he improved on his chiaroscuro method by studying the old masters. After this point, Henner's paintings would increasingly have religious or mythological themes.

Nymphs a la Source

The Chaste Susannah

Levite of Ephram and his Dead Wife, 1898


Although widely known for his paintings of nymphs and nudes in idealized landscapes, Henner was still sought after for creating portraits. One of his most famous is of fellow painter Carolus Duran.

Girl in a Sailor Suit, 1880

Portrait of Carolus Duran

In 1873 Henner was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor, and in 1900 he won the Grand Prix in Paris. Toward the end of his career, he also had a number of students under his instruction, most notable Louise Abemma.

Beauty Reading a Book


During his career, Henner received much notoriety, however, towards the end of his life, his popularity was on the decline. Despite the fact that Henner may not be a household name, his paintings are still housed in museums worldwide. He left behind a legacy of creating beautiful paintings of ethereal young women, and though his landscapes and still life paintings were few, there are certainly a few still in existence today. Still wondering about a family portrait or sensuous nude paintings in your home? Contact us—it may be by Jean-Jacques Henner.

Woman on a Black Divan