Henri Ottman was born on April 10, 1877 in Ancenis (Loire-Atlantique). He was a painter and pastellist of nudes, genre scenes, landscapes, and still-lifes.
Ottman made his debut at the Salon de la Libre Esthétique in Brussels in 1904 and took part in the Salon des Indépendants in Paris from 1905, the Salon d’Automne, the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and the Salon des Tuileries in Paris.
Ottman was a delicate painter and colorist of great sensitivity and expression, but was ignored by critics for a long time. His work is now beginning to be recognized and appreciated. He revered Renoir’s work, from which he derived a certain rawness of tone. He intended to create huge compositions taken from contemporary life in a very modern way. His early years had been uncomfortable – he had experienced poverty, which led him to produce works that often appeal to art collectors. There are vigorous still-life works dating from this period, which, however, show no boldness of technique.
As soon as he became well known, Ottman refined his style and simplified his drawings and colors. He gravitated towards sensual smoothness, painting charming pictures of the female form. He expressed his artistic talent best in paintings of nudes. One of his last major works, Toilette, gives a glimpse of what his paintings might have been like if he had been able to mature fully.
Ottman died on June 1, 1927 in Vernon in an automobile accident.