The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Henri Charles Oulevay, fl. 1865-1880

Nationality: French
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth: Drancy
Date of Death:
Place of Death:


Henri Charles Oulevay was a painter.


Oulevay studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and is recorded to have made copies of the works of Raphael, Titian and Murillo in the Louvre. He exhibited at the Salon between 1865 and 1880.

Manet painted a double portrait of Oulevay and Henri Fantin-Latour, a painting which is now in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. However, in 1862 Whistler sought to disassociate Oulevay from Fantin-Latour, describing him to G. A. Lucas as a 'loafer' unlike his friend (#11977).

Later in life Whistler and Oulevay were on better terms. Oulevay applauded Whistler when he was awarded a gold medal for Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56) and Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242) at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889 (#04355). Indeed, the two men appear to have grown quite close by the 1890s and around 1896 Whistler described him to Alan S. Cole as a 'distinguished artist' and 'friend', thus smoothing the way for Oulevay to consult the tapestries, ceramics and decorative arts at the South Kensington Museum whilst on a visit to London (#07886). In this year Whistler also wrote to Joseph Pennell asking him to look after his friend of 'most distinguished talent' (#07846). In 1898 he wrote with a similar request to William Heinemann (#08498). Indeed, their friendship was such that in 1896/8 Whistler talked of spending some time with Oulevay in the south of France (#04356).

In 1899 Oulevay went to see an exhibition of Whistler 's work, possibly at the Exposition Internationale de Peinture et de Sculpture at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris. He described Whistler 's 'two adorable little Paintings of women - flowers at the seaside [...] in all their Japanese glory' as 'exquisite' (#04359).


Registre d'autorisations attribues de copistes: Classement alphabetiques au nom de l'artiste copiée Ecoles Italienne et Espagnole, Juin 1851 - Novembre 1859; Bellier de la Chavignerie, Dictionnaire général des artistes de l'École française depuis l'origine des arts du dessin, 2 vols, Paris, 1868; Ormond, Richard, and Elaine Kilmurray, John Sargent: The Early Portraits, New Haven and London, 1998.