A fashionable horse painter for over thirty years, Alfred de Dreux is renowned for the romantic, glamorous portrayal of his subjects and his spirited rendering of the horse, which reflect his continental training and background.
De Dreux was born in France, the son of an architect. He first studied under Leon Cogniet and then entered the atelier of Eugene Isabey. Throughout his career, however, de Dreux's work was greatly influenced by Theodore Gericault, who was a close friend of his uncle.
In 1831, de Dreux exhibited Interieur d'Ecurie at the Paris Salon which won him immediate fame. From 1840, de Dreux began his celebrated series of portraits of horses from the famous stables of the duc d'Orleans.
Following the Revolution in 1848, the French royal family emigrated to England where de Dreux frequently visited them, painting many equestrian portraits of the exiled Emperor Napoleon III and his sons. He returned to France and was commissioned to paint a portrait of Napoleon III in 1859 (Musee de l'Armee, Paris). A dispute arose over this equestrian portrait and in March 1860 de Dreux was killed in a duel by Comte Fleury, Napoleon's principal aide-de-camp.
The work of Alfred de Dreux is represented in the Louvre, Paris, the Musee Camondo, Paris and museums in Bordeaux, Dijon and Chantilly.