Born in Odessa, Russia in 1860, Orientalist painter Paul Leroy would study under the Academic master painter Alexandre Cabanel. He studied at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts until 1884 when he took his first trip to Constantinople. He would then explore Egypt from 1885 to 1887, and take annual excursions to Algeria from 1887 and onward.
He was friends with other historical and portrait painters working in the Orientalist style, and joined with several of them, including Alphonse Dinet to create the French League of Orientalists. The group created detailed paintings composed of themes, motifs and images taken largely from their own imaginations. They were popular during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and generally indulged Western audience's misperceptions of Eastern and Northern African interiors, settings and peoples.
He exhibited at the Salon from 1886, and won several medals. He also exhibited in the United States at the prestigious National Academy of Design, in New York City.