Carolus-Duran, the name adopted by Charles Auguste Emile Durand, was equally known for his masterful portraits as he was as an instructor for some of the most brilliant artists of the next generation, including John Singer Sargent.
Carolus-Duran had studied at the Lille academy before beginning an apprenticeship with Francois Soucho. By 1853 he had returned to Paris and was attending classes at the Academie Suisse. He next ventured to Italy and Spain, from 1862 through 1870, where he first encountered the works of Velazquez, which would inform his painting for the rest of his career.
He opened his own Parisian studio in 1872 and made friends with some of the most significant artists of the period, including Manet, Courbet, Monet and Fantin-Latour. During this same period he secured his reputation as a portrait painter, especially with the purchase of his "Lady with the Glove" by the Luxembourg Museum.
In 1889 he was one of the founding members of the Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts, for which he served as President in 1898. He was awarded the Legion d'honneur in 1904, and appointed the Director of the French academy at Rome in 1905.
Considered an "almost forgotten" artist, his works are nonetheless in the collections of many major museums around the world including the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.