Henri Edmond Cross was a French printmaker and painter. He was one of the most prominent Post-Impressionist artists, and along with Paul Signac, was much responsible for the second phase of said movement.
Henri-Edmond-Joseph Delacroix was born in May 1856. He was born in the city of Douai, northern France. His artistic talent was noted at an early age by his mother’s cousin, Dr. Auguste Soins, who was very supportive of him, even financing young Cross’ first drawing lessons, under the teachings of Carolus-Duran.
He studied for a short period in Paris under François Bonvin. Cross returned to Lille, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts before enrolling at the Écoles Académiques de Dessin et d’Architecture in 1878, where took classes for three years under Alphonse Colas.
Cross would continue his art education under Émile Dupont-Zipcy before moving again to Paris in 1881. That same year he would change his name to distinguish himself from Eugene Delacroix, Anglicizing and shortening his name to Henri Cross (the word Croix means Cross in French). 1881 was also when he first exhibited at the Paris Salon. Cross painted several landscapes in his early career, taking many trips to explore them, such as to the Mediterranean, where he met Paul Signac, who became a significant influence as well as a close friend.
Despite his close association with the Post-Impressionists, Cross would only adopt their style years later. His artwork continued to exhibit many influences, especially from his Realist teachers and artists such as Edouard Manet, Jules Bastien-Lepage, as well as from Impressionist painters.
In 1883, Cross met Paul Signac, who became both an influence and a lifelong friend. In the same year, the artist also met Claude Monet, whose influence is evident regarding Cross’ shift to landscape painting and a more bright color palette.
In 1884, Cross was one of the co-founders of the Society of Independent Artists, along with other distinguished artists, such as Odilon Redon, Albert Dubois-Pillet, Georges Seurat, Charles Angrand, and Paul Signac.
In 1891, Cross began to experiment and create paintings applying the Post-Impressionist techniques. Said artworks would become those the artist is most remembered by. His first Pointillist painting was Madame Hector France.
Around 1983, probably due to health problems, the artist went to a city nearby Saint-Tropez, where Paul Signac promptly followed his friend. Both artists became closer and began to host meetings with other painters, such as Andre Derain and Henri Matisse.
Both Cross and Signac began to develop what would be considered the second generation of Post-Impressionism, characterized by a sort of evolution of Pointillism, using lesser brushstrokes, providing more artistic freedom. They also began to utilize colors as a compositional element rather than bound them to replicate the environment.