Born to a distinguished family of Versailles, he received his artistic training at the Académie Julian from the impressionists Alfred Roll and Henri Gervex. There he met Emile Bernand and Paul Sérusier in 1892, shortly afterwards becoming a member of their artist group, Les Nabis.
Like many other Nabi he spent the summers from 1888-97 in Brittany, some sources record that he met Bernand and Sérusier there. He became Le Nabi sculpteur: the sculptor of the group. In fact many sources refer to him solely as sculptor.