Paul-Alexandre Protais was a military painter.
Protais, a student of A. Desmoulins, made his début at the Salon in 1857, and was awarded medals in 1863, 1864, 1865 and 1868. In 1865 he was awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur and in 1877 he was made an Officier de la Légion d'honneur. He followed the French army in its military campaigns in the Crimea and Italy, where he showed great courage, putting himself in extremely dangerous positions. He was injured three times. His paintings were extremely popular, and works such as Avant l'attaque and Après le combat were reproduced in etched format.
However, in July 1863 Henri Fantin-Latour made mention of Protais, whose works had been accepted at the Salon, to JW, condescendingly referring to him as an ally of the Establishment (#01078).
Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61.