Henri Alphonse Barnoin was born in Paris in 1882. He studied initially with Luc-Olivier Merson, though it was his second teacher, Emile Dameron, who became a more significant influence on his artistic style, attracting Barnoin to impressionistic and yet realistic landscape painting.
Barnoin favoured depicting fishermen in boats, rocky coasts, and processions – it was the richness of Brittany’s culture and folklore that nourished Barnoin’s body of work. He began exhibiting his marine and Parisian street scenes at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1909, winning a honourable mention the same year. He also won a silver medal for a painting (1921), and a gold medal at the Salon in 1935, after becoming a full society-member.