Known and admired by a vast circle of critics, artists, politicians, writers and collectors, Eugène Carrière's success came late in his career. Initially trained as a commercial lithographer, his decision to become an artist was inspired by a visit to Paris in 1868. His formal education under Alexandre Cabanel at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian war, during which he was taken prisoner. After completing his studies Carrière was often forced to use his skills as a printmaker to make a living and support his family. It was during this troubled time that he met fellow artist Auguste Rodin, who became a lifelong friend. It was not until 1884 that his work gained popular acclaim after receiving an honourable mention at the Salon. Of a sensitive nature, the artist's compassion for the feelings of others is visible in his portraits, and his famous depictions of motherhood. His ethereal figures seem to emerge slowly from their surrounding environment, a technique which is often compared to that of the Symbolists, with whom the artist was often associated. His subtle, earth-toned palette became increasingly muted throughout the 1880s. As shown in the following lots, Carrière drew inspiration from his family and home environment, and a large body of his work concentrated on his wife and children. Carrière had many famous friends, including Rodin, Gauguin, Zola and George Clemenceau.