Léon-Jean Bazille Perrault (1832 – 1908, French)

Leon Jean Bazille PerraultLéon-Jean Bazille Perrault (1832 – 1908, French) was born into a poor family in Poiters. Driven by a need to help his family, at age 14 Perrault began taking drawing lessons in his hometown in order to produce an income. He had an astounding talent and was asked to help restore murals and paintings in local churches, including the Cathedral of Saint Radegonde.

In 1851, Perrault entered a drawing competition and won first place. Because of this success, he was able to travel to Paris with a 600 franc stipend in order to study under Francois Edouard Picot. He continued his studies at the Beaux-Arts Academy with William A. Bouguereau.  Perrault was profoundly influenced by these two teachers.  Perrault became an important exhibitor at the Paris Salon. His paintings featuring religious, allegorical and historical military scenes were popular with the jurors. In the years 1864, 1876 and 1878 he was awarded medals for his works. In 1887, he was given the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur.

Perrault was an academic painter who painted essentially for the affluent bourgeoisie who wanted to display paintings of frivolous beauty. This was thought to be in respite from the social and political uprising of 1848 and the rise of the Second Empire.  Perrault’s images, thus, focused on mythological scenes, children, nudes, genre scenes and some military works.  His works of children, most often accompanied by a cat or kitten, are angelic and soft and capture their innocence, vulnerability. These provided an escape from social realities.

Perrault died in Royan, France in 1908, and was buried in the Montparnasse cemetery. After his death, the village of Poitiers commissioned a monument in his honor.

Today examples of Perrault’s work can be seen in the museums of Bordeaux, Poitiers, La Rochelle and Stuttgart.


Léon-Jean Bazille Perrault, Child Holding a White Cat

Child Holding a White Cat




Leon-Jean Bazille Perrault, Child Holding a Cat with Kittens

Child Holding a Cat with Kittens




Leon Jean Basile Perrault, Naughty Kitty Steals Toast

Naughty Kitty Steals Toast




Léon Basile Perrault, Tenderness





Girl with a Cat, Leon Jean Bazille Perrault

Girl with a Cat




Angora and Butterfly, Leon Jean Bazille Perrault

Angora and Butterfly



Want to know more about the cat in art, history and literature? Then Revered and Reviled is the book for you. Now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. 


Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats



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