Antoine Guillemet was born in Chantilly in 1843. He studied under Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Achille-François Oudinot, Charles-François Daubigny and Gustave Courbet. Ready to produce large works, unlike many of his contemporaries who sought a more immediate effect, he painted several views of the capital, often using the Seine with its bustling traffic as a central motif. Guillemet continued to paint coastal scenes in Normandy, but buoyed by his initial success, he returned throughout his career to painting views of Paris, with several more works acquired by the state. His large-scale works also earned him the description as the ‘grand bourgeois’ of painting. Nonetheless this series is an astonishing achievement, both a valuable record of the city as it was just before the turn of the century and a brilliant demonstration of the ability of a painter to capture the hustle and bustle of a great city while retaining a sense of light and atmosphere that is true to nature. He died in 1918.