Grenet, Louis Edward (1856–1922)

By: Rebecca H. Green and Kendall Curlee

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 8, 2019

Edward Grenet, portrait and genre painter, eldest son of Augustine Honoré and Magdalena (Coll) Grenet, was born in San Antonio, Texas, on November 22, 1856. His father, originally from Monthois, Ardennes, France, was a prosperous merchant who wanted his son to pursue a business career. However, he supported his son's art studies after seeing a portrait that he had painted of their neighbor John Conrad Beckmann. Grenet studied art in San Antonio and New York City. He also studied in Paris with Tony Robert-Fleury and William Adolphe Bouguereau. He was enrolled in the Art Students League in New York City in 1878, shortly before he returned to San Antonio, where he established a studio. In 1879 he married Eugenie Guilbeau, the daughter of a French-Texas-Mexican family. They had three daughters.

Grenet painted in a late-nineteenth-century French academic style. He had his greatest success with portraiture; his attempts at genre painting were not his best work. His Portrait of a Small Girl (date unknown) and Melancholisches Mädchen (date unknown), both in the collection of the San Antonio Museum Association, characterize his sensitive evocation of his subjects' moods and his use of subtle color harmonies. His other well-known works include portraits of Constance Marucheau, George Carolon at age five, and Wilhelm C. A. Thielepape, as well as the genre scenes Mexican Candy Seller and Mexican Hut (dates unknown).

In 1885 Grenet moved to Paris, France, where he became one of the first native Texas painters to establish an international reputation. He exhibited his work in Munich, Berlin, Vienna, London, Paris, and other cities. One of his portraits, Mariola, won a prize in the 1909 Paris Salon; he also received medals in shows in London, Nantes, and Rennes. While he was in Paris during or after World War I Gen. John J. Pershing sat for Grenet. Grenet died in Paris on March 22, 1922. His work is included in the collection of the San Antonio Museum Association and private collections.

Peter Haskins Falk, ed., Who Was Who in American Art (Madison, Connecticut: Sound View, 1985). Esse Forrester-O'Brien, Art and Artists of Texas (Dallas: Tardy, 1935). Pauline A. Pinckney, Painting in Texas: The Nineteenth Century (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). Nancy Timmons Samuels and Barbara Roach Knox, comps., Old Northwest Texas: Historical-Statistical-Biographical (Fort Worth Genealogical Society, 1980). San Antonio Express, April 8, 1922. Cecilia Steinfeldt, Art for History's Sake: The Texas Collection of the Witte Museum (Austin: Texas State Historical Association for the Witte Museum of the San Antonio Museum Association, 1993).

  • Peoples
  • French
  • Visual Arts
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Painting

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Rebecca H. Green and Kendall Curlee, “Grenet, Louis Edward,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 8, 2019