Léon Detroy was born in Chinon in 1859, to a doctor father and a mother from the Gilles de la Tourette family, thus predisposing him to a life free from pecuniary needs.
He was initiated into painting by his maternal uncle, a collector in Loudun (Vienne) who knew Corot and Courbet. Around 1880 Léon Detroy decided to enter the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Paris but, very quickly, the academicism of his master, Jean-Paul Laurens, tired him and he left the studio. He was then eager for the outdoors and wanted to paint as the impressionists now did.
In 1887 he arrived in the Creuse, even before Armand Guillaumin. He bought a house in Gargilesse and befriended the poet Maurice Rollinat and met and worked alongside Claude Monet. Then, he brought his friends Henri Charrier and Ernest Hareux to the villages of the region. From then on, the artist paced the sunken paths and the banks of the river whether using impressionism, pointillism or fauvism he captured the region. Seeking neither fortune nor recognition, Léon Detroy stayed away from Paris and its Salons, devoting his time to his painting and to his friends of the École de Crozant.
He died in 1955 in the Sarthe.