Paul-Albert Besnard (2 June 1849 --4 December 1934) was a French painter and printmaker.
He was born in Paris and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, studied with Jean Bremond and was influenced by Alexandre Cabanel. He won the Prix de Rome in 1874 with the painting Death of Timophanes
Until about 1880 he followed the academic tradition, but then broke away completely, and devoted himself to the study of colour and light as conceived by the Impressionists. The realism of this group never appealed to his bold imagination, but he applied their technical method to ideological and decorative works on a large scale, such as his frescoes at the Sorbonne, the Ecole de Pharmacie, the ceiling of the Comedie-Française (main theatre in Paris), the Salle des Sciences at the Hôtel de Ville, the mairie of the Ier arrondissement, and the chapel of Berck hospital, for which he painted twelve Stations of the Cross in an entirely modern spirit.
A great virtuoso, he achieved brilliant successes alike in watercolour, pastel, oil and etching, both in portraiture, in landscape and in decoration. His close analysis of light can be studied in his picture La femme qui se chauffe at the Luxembourg in Paris, one of a large group of nude studies of which a later example is Une Nymphe au bord de la mer; and in the work produced during and after a visit to India in 1911. A large panel, Peace by Arbitration, was completed seven days before the outbreak of war in 1914. Portrait of Madame Roger Jourdain 1886(1886)
Medium Oil on canvas