He was born in St Etienne, little is known of his early life except that the family was poor and he studied at the local art school. It is believed that he started working in about 1862, in Lyon, as an engraver and painter. He travelled widely and in 1903, whilst in Bordeaux, he won a scholarship that took him to England.
He arrived in Manchester in 1904 and in the evenings attended classes at the Municipal School of Art. By 1906 he became a staff member. One of his pupils was L. S. Lowry who later paid him many tributes.
Whilst in Manchester he produced some stunning paintings of the City and clearly he influenced Lowry. He exhibited in Manchester and Liverpool regularly until he left England in 1928, when he retired to his parents home in Blanche. Here he concentrated mainly on French Landscapes.
Exhibitions of his work were held at Manchester City Art Gallery in 1976 and in 1994. His latest, hugely successful exhibition was held at The Lowry Centre at the end of 2011.