The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Gustave-Henri Colin, 1828-1910

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 1828.07.11
Place of Birth: Arras
Date of Death: 1910.12.28
Place of Death: Paris


Gustave-Henri Colin was a landscape painter and writer. He married a Basque woman.


Colin was apprenticed in 1847 to the landscape painter Constant Dutilleux in Arras. In Paris, he studied under Ary Scheffer and Thomas Couture, but was also greatly influenced by the work and teaching of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. In 1857 he made his début at the Paris Salon with Portrait of a Grandmother (untraced). From 1858, he settled at Ciboure, where he painted landscapes, coastal views and bullfighting scenes en plain air, showing a concern for changing atmospheric effects.

Whilst staying at St Jean de Luz in 1862, Whistler took a day trip into Spain and met Colin and his wife, the latter whom he described as 'very pretty'. Whistler, who found Colin to be 'very nice' but discouraging about the possibility of painting Basque locals, wrote to Fantin-Latour, who owned one of Colin's works, wanting to know if Colin was 'one of us' (#08030).

In 1863 Colin exhibited at the Salon des Refusés, where Whistler was showing his Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38). In 1874 he showed five paintings in the first Impressionist exhibition.


Colin, G.-H., Constant Dutilleux: Sa vie, ses oeuvres, Arras, 1866; Colin, G.-H., 'C. Corot', L'Evénement, 23 March 1875, pp. 1-2; Le Gentil, M. Gustave Colin, artiste peintre, Arras, 1891; Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Oursel, H., Gustave Colin, 1828-1910, exhibition catalogue, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Arras, 1967; Marchal, G.-L. and P. Wintrebert, Arras et l'art au XIXe siècle, Arras, 1987; Davy-Notter, Annick, 'Gustave Colin', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 5 September 2002).