A noted landscape and marine painter, Petitjean was born at Neufchateau on July 5, 1844 and died in Paris on August 7, 1925. He made his debut at the Paris Salon of 1874 and became a member of the Salon des Artistes Francais in 1883. He also began exhibiting in Munich in 1890. He received an honorable mention in 1881, a first class medal in 1884, a second class medal in 1885, a medal d’argent in 1889 at the Exposition Universelle de Paris and a gold medal in 1900 at the Paris Exposition. He was awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 1892.
Museum collections include:
Musee d’Orsay, Paris; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris; Metropolitian Museum of Art, New York; Phoenix Art Museum, AZ; and regional museums in Amiens, Arras, Cherbourg, Digne, Epinal, Gray, La Rochelle, Nancy, Paris, Perigueux, Reims, and Toulouse