A specialist in floral still life paintings, especially informal arrangements, Raoul M. De Longpre was born in Lyons, Paris into an aristocratic, albeit poor, family that were “fleuristes”, persons associated with flower painting whose center was Lyons. His father, Jean Antoine, decorated fans and exhibited floral still lifes in Paris and Lyons.
He began drawing at a young age. By the time he was twelve he was earning a living painting flowers on fans for a firm in Paris. He worked and studied with his brother, Paul De Longpre, who became a major figure in flower painting and settled in California.
At age 21, Raoul De Longpre began exhibiting in the Paris Salon. Whether or not he traveled to America is unknown, but his painting circulated widely there.
On several occasions paintings that bear Raoul’s signature have been ascribed, by experts, to Paul. It is the opinion of several art scholars that the greatest truth about their relationship lies in the likeness of their superb floral watercolors – evincing a high degree of scientific knowledge and decorative ability.
Today it is widely believed that Raoul was Paul’s older brother, sons of Jean-Antoine-Marie-Victor and Marie-Therese Pinchaud de Longpré, and that the two were living in Paris during the late 1870s. Paul moved to the United States in 1890 and it appears that Raoul continued to live in France.