An artist who developed close professional ties with the French Navy, Charles Fouqueray occupies an important and unique niche in the annuals of French art. While public tastes and the Salons were riding the innovation and birth of Impressionism, Fouqueray dove wholeheartedly into a well-defined, tight realism for his romantic portrayals of the importance of France’s maritime history. Most often, whether naval, merchant or recreational sailors, his work emphasizes the efforts of the humans involved, with segments of ships as his background settings. This made him a popular illustrator for publications and books, including some of Rudyard Kipling’s writings.
Born in Le Mans, Dominique Charles Fouqueray was exhibiting in the Salons before his 21st birthday. He studied under portraitist Alexander Cabenel and historical painter Fernand Cormon. Their influence is heavy in his compositions, but events of the First World War influenced Fouqueray’s direction even more. He became an official painter to the Navy and sailed on several tours to the French Colonies in Africa, Asia and the Australian continents. His is one of very few contemporary viewpoints of this important age of European Imperialism. He also won several awards in his career and was made Officier de la Légion d’Honneur in 1909.
A work considered to be Fouqueray’s most important painting of World War I may be found hanging in the Museum of Great War in Versailles.