Vicomte Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic (1839-1889) was a French artist, archaeologist and patron of the arts. He is best remembered today as a friend of Edgar Degas, who included him in some eleven paintings and pastels. He was among the original Impressionist group and later became a recognised marine painter.
Vicomte Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic was the grandson of the Napoleonic general Louis Lepic, from whom the title had descended. His father was Louis-Joseph Napoléon Lepic, who also followed a military career and was a close supporter of Napoléon III. Destined for a similar career, Ludovic persuaded his father to allow him to train as a painter, originally with Gustave Wappers, the official painter of the Belgian King, and later with the French animal painter Charles Verlat, who encouraged him to take up etching. Much of Lepic’s early work was in this genre and he joined the Société des aquafortistes in 1862. Next year he gained notability for his sentimental etching “For the Poor”, after which he undertook further training from Charles Gleyre and the academic artist Alexandre Cabanal.