Hautier Eugénie ( 1822-1909 )
Eugénie Anne Hautier was born in Rennes on 13th October 1822, the daughter of an artillery officer, Alexandre-François-Eugène Hautier. In February 1834, at the age of 11½, she was admitted to the school of the Legion of Honour in Saint-Denis, near Paris. This institution accepted the daughters of superior officers who were members of the order of the Legion of Honour. It was within this institution, where she would remain until the age of 17, that her artistic training began. The course of study did indeed in the 1830s include 'arts d’agrément' (music, drawing, and dance). In Saint-Denis, drawing was an important discipline. When Eugénie Hautier became a pupil there, teaching was under the supervision of Jean- Baptiste Paulin Guérin, a history painter of repute.
This teaching served a dual purpose. On one hand, it proposed an initiation to the arts typical of a young bourgeois woman’s education. On the other hand, it represented the first step for artistic training with an opening onto the practice of fine arts, which could provide professional perspectives in the domain. Hautiers artistic training did not cease when she left the Legion of Honour. Indeed, specializing in the final years of study at Saint-Denis “allowed a number of boarders to become professional painters as soon as they completed their schooling”
Eugénie Hautier was to frequent the teaching studios of several reputed Parisian painters before choosing for herself the career of an artist. She became a pupil of Henry Scheffer, one of “the most sought after professors for women” as well as of Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury and Eugène Isabey, two history painters. In 1848, she started to exhibit her work at the Salon of Living Artists in Paris
Hautier exhibited her work not only at the Paris Salon but also in the provinces, while diversifying her production: in addition to portraits, she presented paintings of flowers or fruit, still life, interior or historical scenes. Like a number of other artists of the period, she was also a copyist within the context of orders or acquisitions of art work from
/ by the state (mainly of Spanish masters such as Velasquez, an influence which can be felt in her paintings). Despite her remaining a background artist, she gained a certain notoriety through her pictorial production and obtained various prizes and medals as a result of several exhibitions.
Hautier opened a drawing school for girls and adult women in Paris in 1860 with the financial aid of the municipality. Her doing so initiated a wave of the creation of similar institutions in the French capital during the 1860s and the increasing involvement of female artists in the field of teaching. Eugénie Hautier was one of very few women to make a statement in the context of the great inquiry on professional instruction conducted by the French ministry of Commerce in the years 1863–1864: here she presented not only her drawing school, incidentally of repute, but also the project of a professional school centred on the industrial arts. Focusing on graphic education and productive work, this school was established in the second half of the 1860s. Hautier’s drawing school rapidly acquired a good reputation. She gained notoriety during school exhibitions organized by the Central Union of Fine Arts Applied to Industry. In 1870, Eugénie Hautier was appointed inspector of the teaching of drawing in Parisian schools, within the creation of a specific service for the inspection of girls’ primary schools. She joined a (small) body of municipal inspectors which was before exclusively male, and there she would remain the only woman until 1881. In this position, she played a decisive part in the organization and development of the teaching of drawing for girls in Parisian primary schools during the 1870s.