Catulle Mendès was a Portuguese Jew who spent his childhood in the south-west of France. Moving to Paris, he launched La Revue fantaisiste, to which Villiers de l'Isle Adam contributed. His first collection of poems was Philoméla (1863), and he married Théophile Gautier's daughter Judith three years later – whom he left for Augusta Holmès, although his second wife was the poet Jeanne Nette, better known as Jane Catulle-Mendès.
Mendès moved in such circles as Louis-Xavier de Ricard, Leconte de Lisle, François Coppée, Léon Dierx, José-Maria de Heredia and Théodore de Banville: he was a Parnassian. Apart from Philomela, other important works by him include Méphistophéla (1890), Les Oiseaux bleus (1888) and Le Chercheur de tares (1898).
Below is a copy of the painting Les Filles de Catulle Mendès (1888) by Auguste Renoir: