Henri-Edmond Delacroix started his studies in 1878 at the Écoles Académiques de Dessin et d'Architecture in Lille, where he attended Alphonse Colas' studio. In 1881 he moved to Paris, where he continued his studies in Émile Dupont-Zipcy's atelier. That year, exhibited the first time at the Salon and decided to change his name to "Henri Cross" (a reduced English version of his name), to avoid being mistaken for the romantic painter Eugène Delacroix. Later, in 1886 he finally adopted the name "Henri-Edmond Cross", to distinguish himself from the French painter Henri Cros.
In 1884, Cross co-founded the "Société des Artistes Indépendants", where he met the neo-Impressionist painters Seurat, Dubois-Pillet and Angrand. Nevertheless, even in the 1880s his paintings still showed the influence of Bastien-Lepage, of Manet, and of the Impressionist painters.
1891, the year Seurat died, was decisive to Cross' artistic career; to start with, because he painted his first neo-Impressionist painting, Portrait of Mrs Cross, and secondly because, due to his rheumatism, he moved to the South of France. Initially he settled in Cabasson, and finally in Saint-Clair, where he stayed for the rest of his life, except for his two visits to Italy, in 1903 in 1908, and his yearly visits to Paris to show his works at the Salon des Indépendants. A year after Cross' arrival in Saint-Clair, Paul Signac moved to Saint-Tropez, a few miles away from him. In the company of Signac, Cross acquired a new confidence, painting sea views and scenes from country life which showed a sympathy for an anarchist ideology. Cross was also a very close friend of Angrand, Luce, Van Rysselberghe and Félix Fénéon, and he participated in several salons of Libre Esthétique, in Brussels.
From the mid 1890s, Signac and Cross abandoned the tiny coloured dots for broader and orderly brushstrokes similar to mosaic tessellations. The so-called "second generation neo-Impressionism" would have a decisive importance in the shaping of fauvism, as many of the future Fauve artists-like Matisse, Derain, Puy, Manguin, Camoin, Marquet and Valtat-visited Saint Clair and Saint-Tropez at the beginning of the 20th century.
In 1905, Cross held his first individual exhibition at the Galerie Druet. Two years later, Félix Fénéon organised a retrospective of his oeuvre at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune. Cross died of cancer in Saint-Clair on 16 May 1910.
Juan Á. López-Manzanares