His full name must be used to identify him since there was also his son, the painter Bernard Boutet de Monvel, whose style owed much to Maurice, and the writer Roger Boutet de Monvel who also could have been a son or a nephew. Maurice, aka Louis-Maurice, was the most popular French illustrator of the late nineteenth century and this drawing, which appeared as the lead article in Century Magazine for October 1896, has been an inspiration for more than a few illustrators of childrens' books. Click to enlarge the drawing and note his wonderful technique. It's from the lead article in Century Magazine for October 1896 entitled "About French Children" and depicts "a French mother and daughter hastening from class to class."
Maurice was born in Orléans, France, precisely in mid-century. His father had a distinguished musical career creating tenor parts for the composers Rossini and Meyerbeer; his grandfather a captain of engineers in the French army which fought on behalf of the colonists in our Revolutionary War; and a direct descendant of celebrated French literary and theatrical personalities.
He was a student of the noted painter Carolus Duran in 1875 but soon found his own way of working in a distinctive style all his own. This is entitled "Portrait of a Young Girl," and appeared in Century Magazine for June 1894 in an article devoted to his work which was written by his friend and American colleague Will H. Low, whose portrait of Boutet appears below. They had both studied with Duran in Paris.
This also appeared in Century Magazine for June 1894 in the same article about Boutet. It's a very nice picture in a terrible frame. Something tells me that there was a lot going on between subject and painter to get that tender expression.
From the same article, "The Blessing," one of 36 illustration for "Xavière," by Ferdinand Fabre. The story is about two lovers, Landry and Xavière and follows them throughout their lives. This is posed in a way that became almost obligatory for illustrators for the next hundred years.
Maurice Boutet de Monvel by Will H. Low, circa 1890.
My favorite. "Jacqueline and Miraut, from "Nos Enfants." Click to enlarge.
In Century Magazine for November 1896, Boutet de Monvel wrote and illustrated about Joan of Arc entitled "The National Hero of France." The illustration depicts Joan hearing celestial voices while meditating.
To see Boutet's illustrations in full color click on Joan.
"In the Time of the Restoration" from "Children's Costumes in the Nineteenth Century (from 1800 to 1870)" by Roger Boutet de Monvel. Click to enlarge. It's pretty stiff compared to the elder Boutet's other work but it's the only work I have in color. It appeared in Century Magazine for December 1904.
Here are some more from Harper's Monthly Magazine for September 1903. Click on images to enlarge.