Sweetly imagined scenes of domestic or "everyday" life fill the canvases of artist Hugues Merle. A student of Leon Cogniet, he had found success at the Salons of Paris early in his career. He took medals in 1861 and 1863 and was made a Chevalier of the Legion in 1866.
He found a great deal of popularity in the American market, where his sentimental scenes of women and children, often with dogs or those in allegorical settings were the most desired. He also chose the working class women of France as a subject of his work and depicted them in a strongly tragic light.
He relied on the highly finished techniques of the early nineteenth century French painters to depict his subjects, and his work is in many major museums throughout the world.
He is frequently compared to his close friend William Bouguereau, when in fact it was Bouguereau who had found inspiration in Merle's familial and domestic scenes. Both painters would also frequently rely on historical anecdotes and myths for their subjects as well.