Chassériau, Théodore (tāōdôrˈ shäsārēōˈ) [key], 1819–56, French painter, b. Santo Domingo. He entered Ingres's studio at the age of 12; five years later he gained immediate recognition with the exhibition of his Cain, Cursed and Return of the Prodigal. Chassériau was the only artist of the age who successfully combined Ingres's sense of line and Delacroix's rich color and vitality and, at the same time, created his own personal style. After his visit to Algeria in the 1840s, he emphasized the exotic, romantic elements in his painting, while still adhering to classical techniques. Among his best-known works are the Two Sisters, Arabian Challenge, and Tepidarium (all: Louvre). His mural decorations for the Cour des Comptes of the Palais d'Orsay, Paris, were destroyed except for a few fragments preserved in the Louvre. His untimely death cut short a brilliant career.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.