Carpeaux was a painter but was better known as a sculptor. He worked primarily in France and Italy and participated in ambitious projects such as the restoration and expansion of the Louvre starting in the 1850s as well as receiving official commissions from French and Italian Royals and dignitaries. He is best known for his sculpture La Danse which was seen as controversial when it was first displayed to the public in 1869.
Antoine Vollon was a painter and engraver who settled in Paris in 1863 and became a friend of Carpeaux. This informal and freely-painted portrait was painted in Dieppe two years after Carpeaux’s visit to England to escape the Paris commune. It is inscribed: à l’ami Vollon/Be Carpeaux/Dieppe 1873.