We don’t exactly know the artistic education Henry Bacon has received but he has been jugged qualified enough to be hired as reporting painter of the “Leslie’s Weekly” magazine during the civil war (1861-1865).
Deeply wounded, he arrived in Paris in 1864 and became student of Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889) and Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). He’ll be one of the first American artists to be admitted at the Paris Beaux-Arts School.
He lived in Ecouen from 1866 to 1868 to follow the teaching of Pierre Edouard Frère (1819-1886). From 1867 to 1896, he exhibited a total of thirty-one paintings at the Salons of Paris, especially in 1879 showing “burial at sea”. In 1874, he painted a scene showing Ecouen under the Prussian invasion.
In priority, Henry Bacon was producing for the American market.
Starting in 1880, Henry Bacon spent most of his time to paint marine sceneries, as well as being journalist for the “Daily Evening Transcript” of Boston, describing Parisian events, like the General Grant visit or the founding of the American Artists Association.
In 1897, Henry Bacon made his first trip to Egypt and, starting in 1899, get used to spend the winters there. He kept correspondence with Luigi Chialiva (1841-1914) and Ferdinand Heilbuth (1826-1889).
Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) gave him his painting called “Le baiser” (The kiss). He then settled down in Barbizon. Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) gave him a young lady torso and later gave it back to his widow.
Henry Bacon left France for London, dropping oil painting for watercolor art.
In 1912, victim of a hart attack, Henry Bacon died in Cairo.
His widow organized a posthumous exhibition, most of it being composed of oriental style paintings produced during the last year of his life. This exhibition has been shown in many American cities.