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Olivier Bro de Coméres (1812-1874)
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Olivier Bro de Coméres was a colonel, an officer in the French army and the first Baron de Coméres. His father Louis Bro de Coméres was one of the most important military officers of the Napoleonic period and the French Restoration, being appointed Captain General in 1843. The family's social and cultural environment in Paris and his father Louis Bro de Coméres' close relationship with painters such as Géricault and Delacroix must have had a great influence on Olivier. Around 1833, the family moved to North Africa and settled in Alger, although they had visited other cities such as Oran. During his stay in Africa, Olivier Bro began to draw, documenting his entire life. His constancy led to a prolific artistic production, with some 20 drawings documented in June 1840. The most frequent themes in his extensive artistic production were war scenes, captured from a documentary perspective as a war chronicler, portraying battles from the breaking of camp to the capture of cities. He thus became a kind of war reporter, painting portraits of the wounded, the platoons or of people who were not involved in the conflict but were relevant to it, such as, for example, a water carrier who supplied the troops. He also painted field scenes documenting the urban architecture of Africa, a discipline to which he devoted special attention, and scenes of everyday life in the area. His paintings included people who represented the population of the region, regardless of class or race. Plants and animals were the subject of his interest from an objective and also personal perspective, as in many cases he portrayed his domestic animals. Olivier Bro de Coméres worked with sketchbooks, sketching what he wanted to immortalise and noting down the details so that he could finalise them in detail. These notebooks were named after colours such as yellow, violet, red and blue.