Eugene Isabey

Mont Saint-Michel – The Artists – Isabey, Eugene

This page forms part of a series of pages dedicated to the many artists who worked in Mont Saint-Michel. A full list of all the artists with a link to their works can be found at the bottom of this page.

Eugene Isabey
Eugene Isabey

Movement(s): Romanticism

Eugene Louis Gabriel Isabey (1803 – 1886) was a French painter, lithographer and watercolorist in the Romantic style. He was born to Jean-Baptiste Isabey, a well known painter who enjoyed the patronage of the Imperial Family. Originally, he wanted to be a sailor, but his father insisted that he study painting; a turnabout from the usual situation where the family opposes an artistic career in favor of something more practical.

He shared a studio with fellow artist Xavier Leprince while living in Honfleur.

In 1831, he was chosen to accompany a diplomatic mission to Morocco, led by the Comte de Mornay, but he politely refused. He had just returned from a short trip to Algiers, where he had painted scenes of the Royal Navy’s campaign, and was concerned that the situation there was still too unsettled to make a lengthy stay. He was replaced by his friend, Eugene Delacroix, who created over 100 works that are now considered classics of Orientalism.

Shortly after, however, Isabey became a court painter for King Louis-Philippe and was named a Knight in the Legion d’Honneur in 1832. One of his best known paintings was done during this period, in 1840, depicting the return of Napoleon’s remains from Saint Helena aboard the Belle Poule.

During a trip to England, he was known to have studied the works of J.M.W. Turner. He was especially skillful at rendering subtleties in darker colors; which might be called a form of grisaille. He took in students on a regular basis; including Eugene Boudin, Johan Barthold Jongkind and Durand-Brager. In his later years, he turned from marine painting to historical scenes, usually of a violent nature, such as massacres, duels and robberies.

Click here to read Isabey’s full bio on Wikipedia.

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1823 - Eugene Isabey- Mont Saint-Michel
1823 – Eugene Isabey- Mont Saint-Michel
1870 - Eugene Isabey- Postern at Mont Saint-Michel
1870 – Eugene Isabey- Postern at Mont Saint-Michel

NOTE: A postern is a secondary door or gate in a fortification such as a city wall or castle curtain wall. Posterns were often located in a concealed location which allowed the occupants to come and go inconspicuously.


The city of Granville (population: 13,000) is located to the North of Mont Saint-Michel along the coast.

1863 - Eugene Isabey- Granville, the beach
1863 – Eugene Isabey- Granville, the beach

Isabey painted several places in France (a link “” to his works will appear below when published):

  • Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes
    • Saint-Nectaire
  • Brittany
  • Hauts-de-France
    • Boulogne
    • Calais
    • Saint-Valery-sur-Somme
  • Normandy
  • Nouvelle-Aquitaine
  • Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur
    • Avignon
    • Hyeres

The Mont Saint-Michel is a very impressive village, used as backdrop for many artists travelling in the region. Here are the artists that we have found that worked in the area (a link “⇠” will appear next to an artist name when we published their works of art. A “*” next to a name indicates that the artist did NOT work in Mont Saint-Michel itself, but closeby).

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