Emile Loubon was born in Aix-en-Provence in 1809. Noticed by Granet at the drawing school of Aix, he left for Rome for two years to perfect his teaching, then he settled in Paris where he frequented the greatest painters of his time. He then returned to the South of France where he was appointed director of the Marseille School of Drawing in 1845.
This is how the school of Provençal landscape painters will be born, under the impulse of a demanding master, but who encourages the free expression of his students, their singularity.
He brought along in his wake young painters eager to learn on the ground, in contact with nature, which constituted a great novelty compared to the academic tradition of teaching in the studio that had prevailed until then. For the journalist and art critic of the time, Ferdinand Servian, this new way of teaching was a small regional revolution: "And his flock of students, moving like such a flock of his sheep, would graze, not in the beaten paths of a servum pecus, but among unexplored paths, under the vigilant as well as debonair eye of this shepherd of young souls who made his flock drink from the pure springs of the ideal and gave them as pasture the vast fields of the art. "
In 1846, Emile Loubon founded the Salon of the Society of Friends of the Arts, where the painters he was then frequenting in Paris would exhibit: Delacroix, Corot and other Barbizon painters such as Théodore Rousseau. On these occasions, Loubon took advantage of the opportunity to invite these painters to the school he was directing and to create a profitable emulation for his pupils. Among the young artists who followed this profitable teaching, Raphaël Ponson, Fabius Brest and François Simon each took advantage of the master's lessons in their own way to evolve in the path that attracted them, however different they were from the master's inspirations. They will be marine painter, orientalist or animal painter...
Until his death in 1863, Loubon will continue to exhibit at the Salon. Nature constitutes the supreme model of this artist who turned rather little to the landscapes of the coast, preferring to them the rusticity of the Provençal lands of the hinterland. His work is marked by the will to render the contrasting grandeur of the Provençal landscape, its beauty but also its harshness, the harshness of rural life. We feel the oppressive heat of the sun which dries the earth and makes it so powdery that the herds can only move around in an insidious dust. We are far from the humid landscapes observed by the painters of Barbizon that Loubon admires so much... However, in his own way, he endeavors to paint on the ground scenes of everyday peasant life, where man composes with nature and animals to earn his daily bread.