Though Boisseau worked from life, he was also involved in photography, and by 1852 he was listed as a daguerreotypist in Cleveland, Ohio. He also advertised as a portrait and landscape painter, art teacher and art dealer. In 1860 he made his way to Montreal, and opened the first of three consecutive photographic studios, the last in 1868. While little is known about his later life, he exhibited portrait and genre pictures at the Royal Canadian Academy as late as 1884. Several, such as French Quarter Statuette and Doll Peddler and The Grandmother, depict New Orleans subjects. He died in Buffalo, New York, in 1901. NRS
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Born in Paris, Alfred Boisseau trained under Paul Delaroche. Though the details of his life are obscure, he probably began his studies around 1840. Delaroche’s was the most popular atelier at the time and the one attended by the best French students. His style, which he naturally passed on to his pupils, was a fusion of the academic neoclassical school and the subject matter of the romantics, resulting in "historical" paintings so highly finished they were nearly photographic in their realism. Delaroche achieved this through his dedication to drawings, possibly augmented with daguerreotypes —a practice that many of his students, including Boisseau and the better-known Jean Leon Gerome would successfully adopt the following decade.
Boisseau began his career in New Orleans, where he lived and painted from 1845 until 1849. One of the earliest artists to establish a studio there, he was likely drawn to the city by his brother, who was serving as secretary to the French consul. Fascinated by native Americans, as well as blacks and Creoles, he painted a number of ethnic subjects, several of which were exhibited at the 1848 Salon. One of these, Louisiana Indians Walking Along a Bayou (1847; New Orleans Museum of Art), which shows a group of Choctaws walking in a wooded area, presumably to the French market, is perhaps the most famous antebellum genre painting done in Louisiana. Boisseau may have been led to the subject by the example of George Catlin, whose "Indian Gallery" had won the praise of such famous writers and artists as Baudelaire, George Sand, and Delacroix when it was exhibited in Paris in 1845.