Charles Meryon (French, 1821-1868)

Meryon, almost solely an etcher, is seen as one of the most significant artists of his medium in nineteenth-century France. He became seriously interested in art during his naval career, which took him around the world. He started to sketch his travels and take lessons, settling on etching in the mid-1800s, after it had fallen out of popularity as a fine art medium. Meryon began with what he knew in maritime scenes, and later moved to his mature work of his views of Paris. While they are detailed, they show the artist’s visions, as well as the impact of current events using strong angles, verticality, and surreal elements alongside urban landscapes. His most famous undertakings show his distinctive depiction of Gothic Paris. Meryon seems to have remained mostly an etcher due to his colorblindness. He also struggled with mental illness, which may have cut short any long-term international fame.