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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec came from one of the most distinguished French families, his mother was Comtesse Adele de Toulouse-Lautrec-Montfa. Born an aristocrat, Lautrec grew up sheltered by relatives until his mid-twenties, as an adult he led a double life, alternating between hosting guests at his motherís upper class country estate and throwing parties in his rented artistís garret in Paris. His wild life ended young, a victim of alcoholism and venereal disease.
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) was born in the Dutch West Indies to wealthy Jewish parents but offended his family by marrying into the lower class. He wed Julie Vellay, a farmerís daughter, who had worked as maid and cookís assistant in his parentsí home; together they raised chickens, rabbits, pigeons, and a family of eight children in a middle class Parisian suburb. Pissarro was a modest man who relocated his family, and generously provided a home for his mother, siblings and their families in London from 1870 until after the Franco-Prussian War.
Alfred Sisley (1939-1899), was born in Paris the son of wealthy English parents. He was educated in England but returned to France to paint as an adult; he had achieved some financial success as an artist, but was left completely destitute by the invading troops in 1870. Monet welcomed Sisley into his home for a short time; in about a year, Sisley painted and sold at least fifty-nine canvases and temporarily regained his former financial position. His mistress, florist Eugenie Lescouezec, raised Sisleyís two children. In the end, he died poor and did not achieve lasting professional or financial success in his lifetime.
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