Paris, April 4th 1836 – approx. 1885, ?
A student of Felix Joseph Barrias, he settled in Ecouen with his wife Marie Turin, eleven years his junior. The announcement of their marriage can be found in « the Petit Journal » of April 15, 1866. Their house, rue de la Grande-Fontaine, is still one of the most beautiful residences in the city, even if the glass roof of the studio has disappeared. The year of his marriage, he participated in the Paris Salon where he exhibited « Les dragées de baptême » and « Le Chapeau de papier« .
The critic Charles Yriarte, in his review of the Exhibition of Fine Arts, praised this new artist: « It is a young painter, beginner whose work we have chosen because it is the imprint of a certain reverie that concurred with a harmony and a great richness of tone. Au fil de l’eau, that is not told; it is not strictly speaking a subject, and yet it emerges from there a great poetry. Mr. Aufray was not awarded a medal, but these are nevertheless happy beginnings ».
He was invited to the Salon almost every year until his death. He was also invited abroad: Cologne in 1873 and London in 1876. It is perhaps on this occasion that he met Charles Dickens, because we find in December 1869 a photograph, published by Robert Hindry Mason, representing the writer and his two daughters, colored by Joseph Athanase Aufray and in 1878 an illustration of a short story of the English author « The Mugby Branch« .
This realist artist was « distinguished » by Emile Zola in his comments on the Paris Salon of 1866. Théodore Véron, art critic, judged that he « is in real progress on his previous salons » and praised his cheerful and spiritual note in 1876: it is a painting entitled « The Last Touch » representing a little girl daubing a painting made by her father!
Leaving Ecouen, he settled in Montmorency.
For further information, please read the book “L’Ecole d’Ecouen, une colonie de peintres au XIXe siècle” (bilingual French-English).