Duverger, Théophile Emmanuel (1821-1898)

Duverger, Théophile Emmanuel (1821-1898)
Duverger, Théophile Emmanuel (1821-1898)

Théophile Emmanuel Duverger was a distinguished medal-winning French painter of portraits and genre scenes.

Duverger’s world was one of domestic utopia, where young siblings play gleefully, wide-eyed toddlers wait patiently, and gardens are abundant with radiant blooms. He avoided the grit often associated with the earlier ‘realist’ painters, preferring a gentler, sentimental notion of wholesome family life. As such, his scenes were popular with the French bourgeoisie, the rising middle class who sought to decorate their homes with appropriate imagery.

Born in Bordeaux, he was, astonishingly, self-taught - diligently studying works in museums rather than undertaking formal tuition. It would seem plausible that, given the fidelity of his figure work, he was inspired by the old masters, particularly the 17th-century Dutch painters, such as Gerard ter Borch (1617-1681). Often, young artists would produce copies of the older works, selling them to friends and family.

His career blossomed following a move to Ecouen, a quaint commune eight miles north of Paris, where he associated with a circle of genre painters including Pierre Edouard Frère (1819-1886) and Paul Constant Soyer (1823-1903). It was a supportive environment, aiding his development, and in 1853, he debuted at the illustrious Paris Salon. Ecouen provided an ideal backdrop for his raison d'etre - depicting family life within humble interiors. Artists had an abundance of inspiration on their doorstep and often left easels in local homes.

The American, James Crawford Thom (1835-1898), remarked that “The village of Ecouen, where we live, is one of the most charmingly picturesque in France. Models, interiors, and interesting subjects are at hand.”

Duverger’s son-in-law, André-Henri Dargelas (1828-1906), was also an artist and by 1872 was living with the family. Paul Seignac (1826-1904) was another local connection - also a native of Bordeaux.

Théophile Emmanuel Duverger exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon, winning medals in 1861 and 1865. He’s represented in numerous public collections including the V&A Museum in London, Musée d'Orsay in Paris, and The Baltimore Museum of Art.


Paris Salon, Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Exposition Universelle in Paris, Société des Artistes Français.

Public Collections

V&A Museum, Musée d'Orsay, Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, Guildhall Art Gallery, Sheffield Museum, Musée des Beaux Arts in Bordeaux, Le Musée Artistique et Archéologique, Le Musée de La Roche-sur-Yon, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Walters Art Museum.



Born in Bordeaux, France, to Jean Duverger and Marie Duverger (nee Blondel).


Married Elizabeth Siegnac in Bordeaux.


Debuted at the Paris Salon with a portrait. He continued to exhibit until 1898.


Began exhibiting genre scenes at the Paris Salon.


Awarded a medal at the Paris Salon.


Received an honourable mention at the Paris Salon.


Awarded a medal at the Paris Salon.


Lived in Écouen, Val-d'Oise, Paris with his wife, Elizabeth Duverger (nee Siegnac), Adeline Siegnac, son-in-law and artist André-Henri Dargelas (1828–1906), and his daughters Elisa Dargelas and Gabrielle Durverger.

C. 1878

Using an aerial propeller, he towed a ‘small elongated balloon’ in Ecouen.


Presented his invention, an aerial propeller, at the Aerial Navigation Congress.
Shown at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.


Shown at Columbian Exposition in Chicago.



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