Veillon studied under François Diday in Geneva before enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1858. While in Paris, he spent a considerable amount of time in the Louvre, copying the works of the masters, especially the seventeenth-century Dutch masters and the work of Claude Lorrain, whom he later credited for the luminism that defines his landscapes. Veillon's neighbour in the French capital was the Orientalist painter Eugène Fromentin, who sparked his interest in Orientalist themes and inspired him to see the Middle East for himself. He went on to visit Egypt at least four times, in 1873 staying there with his friend, the artist Etienne Duval (1824-1919).
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