Paul Émile Chabas (1869-1937) was a French painter and illustrator and member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts. He was born in Nantes, and had his artistic training under William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury. He first exhibited at the Salon in 1890. He was awarded a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 and in 1912 received the Médaille d’honneur. His preferred subject was a nude young girl in a natural setting.
September Morn, 1912, oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
His most famous painting, September Morn 1912, became a "Succès de scandale" in the United States in May, 1913, when Anthony Comstock, head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, protested against the painting as supposedly immoral. There was much publicity, and reproductions of the painting sold briskly for years afterwards. September Morn has often been cited as an example of kitsch.In the 1890s Chabas illustrated books by such authors as Paul Bourget and Alfred de Musset. He became a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1921 and received the Légion d’honneur in 1928. From 1925-1935 he was president of the Société des Artistes Français. He died in Paris on May 10, 1937. During his lifetime, Paul Chabas was also a celebrated portrait painter.