Founded in Paris in 1860 by Rudolph Julian, this was the first Academy to be formed in the shadow of the École Nationale des BeauxArts. It was never a rival institution but served from the beginning as a kind of preparatory studio for those waiting to enter the École Nationale. After some initial difficulties, involving several moves, from the Faubourg Montmartre to Montparnasse before eventually setting itself up in the Rue du Dragon, it finally became very successful when, about 1888, Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, Ibels, Ranson, Roussel and Vallotton -- later to become the Nabis -began to meet there. Some years later, in 1892, Matisse came also, to work mainly under the guidance of Bouguereau, an honest painter though devoid of originality, who once said to him: 'You rub out your charcoal with your finger, which shows that you are a slipshod person . . . You will never know how to draw.' Derain and Léger came to work at the Academy in 1904. Marcel Duchamp also found his way there and stayed just long enough to contract that profound aversion for the semi-official conception of art represented by Bouguereau that prompted him to start his pre-Dada revolt.

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