Francois Xavier Fabre

Francois Xavier Fabre, “Academic Studies of the Male Torso”, 1787, Oil on Canvas

Born in Montpellier, French Neo-Classical painter Francois Xavier Fabre was a pupil of Jacques Louis David, and made his fame by winning in 1787 the Prix de Rome, a scholarship initially estabished by Louis XIV in 1663. Fabre left France during the Revolution and lived in Florence, Italy, becoming a member of the Florentine Academy where he taught. He gained popularity in Florence; the city’s artistocrats and tourists were drawn to his elegance, realism, and percisision of his paintings.

During his stay in Florence, Fabre met dramatist, Vittorio Alfieri, whose widow, Princess Loouise of Stolberg-Gerdern, he married. After Louise’s death in 1824, Fabre used the inherited fortune to found an art school in Montpellier. During his time in Italy, he built up a collection of 16th and 17th century Italian paintings and drawings, and paintings by his French contemporaries. On his own death, he bequeathed this extensive art collection to the town of Montpellier, forming the basis of the Musee Fabre.

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