(b Nancy, June 26, 1735; d Paris, July 24, 1802).
French painter, pastellist and engraver. He lived in Paris from 1760 and from 1762 kept a list of his works. Among the portraits he completed in his early years were those in pastel of the well-known connoisseurs Pierre-Jean Mariette, the Comte de Caylus and Ange-Laurent de la Live de July (all untraced), which apparently were copies after Maurice-Quentin de La Tour. Ducreux has traditionally been seen as de La Tour’s favourite pupil, while Jean-Baptiste Greuze is supposed to have initiated him into oil painting. From his age, it can be assumed that by the time Ducreux reached Paris he had already acquired a grounding in his art.
In 1769 Ducreux was selected to paint Louis XVI’s future wife, Marie-Antoinette, in Vienna. The official portrait he made (untraced) survives only in the engraving (1771) by Charles Eugène Duponchel (1748–80). Two surviving portraits of the future queen (both priv. col.) are conventional and not very expressive. Ducreux spent two years at the Austrian court. While there he also received a commission to paint the portrait of ...