Charles Victor Thirion was born in Langres (Haute-Saone) France, May 30, 1833 and died in Paris, April 27, 1878. Thirion was considered an academic portrait painter from the French school. He also was a very accomplished engraver. Thirion received his first art education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) and Charles Gleyre (1806-1874). Being accepted into the academy was done through testing and many artists failed to meet the standards elected by the governing body. His work was judged by Bougereau and Gleyre who became his teachers.
In 1850, Thirion moved to Paris aided by a stipend from the city of Lille. Thirion had his first exhibition in the 1861 Salon. The competition was tremendous; Jules Breton, Jean Antoine Ball, Meissonnier and other very important painters of the day. It was during this exhibition that French-American art dealer Michel Knoedler saw Thirion's work and began to handle it at the Goupil and Cie in Paris. In many ways Thirion was caught as others were in the middle of a political and artistic battle for control. By 1870 the Franco Prussian War had begun. Many of the French artists had either joined the military or left for England.
Thirion joined the French Army in 1870 and was wounded during a skirmish in 1871 just before the end of the war. Wounded and ill, Thirion returned to his painting but found that his academic style was in little demand. Charles Victor Thirion died at the age of 45 on April 27, 1878. His last sale was to the Museum of Langres in the town of his birth. The painting " Apres l'ecole " was a good example of his very accomplished style. The small city of Lille also owns a painting " Portrait de 'enfant".