Henri Edmond Cross was born in France in 1856 with the name Henri-Edmond-Joseph Delacroix. He studied art at the École des Beaux-Arts and Écoles Académiques de Dessin et d’Architecture. In 1881, he changed his last name from Delacroix to Cross to distinguish himself from the Romantic painter, Eugène Delacroix.
His early work is distinguished by his darker color pallet and subjects of portraits and still life. Around 1883, Cross had the opportunity to meet Claude Monet and be exposed to the impressionistic style. As a result of the meeting, Henri Cross gradually changed his style to reflect the softer and brighter color pallet that he is best known for today.
In 1884, Henri Cross co-founded, along with George Seurat, the Société des Artistes Indépendants. Society members were artists who disagreed with the practices of the official Salon. Over the the remainder of his career, his work would reflect varying styles such as Neo-Impressionism, Pointism and Fauvist styles. Cross and Paul Signac were close friends throughout their lives and later in life they would host gatherings in Cross’s garden, with such artist attending as Matisse, André Derain, and Albert Marquet.
Cross is most known for being as a master of Neo-Impressionist works. He contributed greatly to that movement and influenced future generations of artists. Cross’s belief in Neo-Impressionist philosophy extended to include political philosophies as well. Henri Cross believed in anarchist principles, with hope for a Utopian society.
Today his work can be found in important collections around the world including The Art Institute of Chicago, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Harvard University Art Museums,the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Grenoble (Grenoble, France), Musée d’Orsay (Paris), the Museum of Modern Art (New York City), the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), New Art Gallery (Walsall, England), the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and many more.