Born in Hamburg, Ferdinand Heilbuth (1826–1888) was the son of a rabbi and, like his father, he seemed destined to follow the family religious vocation. He began rabbinical studies that allowed him to undertake numerous trips to Rome, Antwerp, and Munich. But in 1843, he decided to suspend his religious studies and went to Paris to study painting beside Charles Gleyre and Paul Delaroche. Initially he created historic scenes with a romantic influence but starting in 1868, he devoted himself to landscape painting. Heilbuth developed a brighter palette and a more rustic style and befriended Sisley, Monet, as well as Manet. The latter had a great influence on him, especially in his search for light tones. He became a naturalized French citizen in 1876. He was appointed Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1861 and officer of the same order in 1881.