(b Douai, Jan 30, 1785; d Paris, Sept 28, 1861).
French painter. He was the natural son of Alexandre de Pujol de Mortry, a nobleman and provost of Valenciennes, but did not use his father’s name until after 1814. He trained first at the Académie de Valenciennes (1799–1803), then at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and in the studio of Jacques-Louis David. At the end of 1805 it seemed he would have to end his apprenticeship for lack of money but David let him continue free of charge, so impressed had he been by Philopoemen… Splitting Wood (1806; ex-Delobel priv. col., Valenciennes). The astonishing Self-portrait (Valenciennes, Mus. B.-A.), showing the artist as the very image of a romantic hero, dates from this period.
From 1808 Abel exhibited history paintings at the Salon, making his living, however, by painting shop signs. In 1811 he won the prestigious Prix de Rome and his father subsequently permitted him to adopt his name. Thus from ...