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Alastair Laing

(b Paris, Sept 29, 1703; d Paris, May 30, 1770).

French painter, draughtsman and etcher. Arguably it was he, more than any other artist, who set his stamp on both the fine arts and the decorative arts of the 18th century. Facilitated by the extraordinary proliferation of engravings, Boucher successfully fed the demand for imitable imagery at a time when most of Europe sought to follow what was done at the French court and in Paris. He did so both as a prolific painter and draughtsman (he claimed to have produced some 10,000 drawings during his career) and through engravings after his works, the commercial potential of which he seems to have been one of the first artists to exploit. He reinvented the genre of the pastoral, creating an imagery of shepherds and shepherdesses as sentimental lovers that was taken up in every medium, from porcelain to toile de Jouy, and that still survives in a debased form. At the same time, his manner of painting introduced the virtuosity and freedom of the sketch into the finished work, promoting painterliness as an end in itself. This approach dominated French painting until the emergence of Neo-classicism, when criticism was heaped on Boucher and his followers. His work never wholly escaped this condemnation, even after the taste for French 18th-century art started to revive in the second half of the 19th century. In his own day, the fact that he worked for both collectors and the market, while retaining the prestige of a history painter, had been both Boucher’s strength and a cause of his decline....

Article

(b Paris, Nov 29, 1686; d Paris, March 20, 1766).

French textile manufacturer, collector and amateur engraver. He was the nephew of François de Jullienne, a cloth merchant, and of Jean Glucq, a celebrated dyer for the Gobelins factory in Paris, and in 1721 he merged their successful businesses. As a young man he studied drawing with Jean-François de Troy, and engraving with François Boucher and Girard Audran, and he was friendly with François Lemoyne and with Antoine Watteau, whose Portrait of a Gentleman (Paris, Louvre) has been said to be of Jullienne. Shortly before his death Watteau presented Jullienne with a large number of his drawings; Jullienne eventually owned more than 500 of Watteau’s drawings. In 1726 he published Figures de différents caractères de paysages et d’études, dessinés d’après nature par Antoine Watteau, a volume of engravings by major artists after all the drawings by Watteau then known (Jullienne himself provided 12 plates). In 1736 Jullienne was ennobled and created a Chevalier of the Order of St Michel; in that same year he published four volumes of the ...

Article

(b Rouen, 1735; d Paris, 1802).

French painter, printmaker and designer. He came from a family of architects and engravers that had been active in Rouen since the 16th century, and he may have been distantly related to Jean de La Vallée. He first studied under Jean-Baptiste Descamps at the newly established Académie des Arts du Dessin in Rouen and in 1755 went to Paris and entered the studio of Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre. In 1759 he won the Prix de Rome with Elisha Multiplying the Poor Widow’s Oil (untraced), and from 1759 he was at the Ecole des Elèves Protégés in Paris. Already by this time he seems to have been producing landscapes in the manner of Nicolas Poussin and had begun to be referred to by the name Lavallée-Poussin. He was in Rome from 1761 to 1777, for part of the time at the Académie de France. He then stayed with Louis-Auguste Le Tonnelier, Baron de Breteuil, the Maltese Ambassador, whose house, the Garden of Malta, Lavallée decorated in ...

Article

[Christof]

(bapt Frankfurt am Main, May 23, 1667; d Paris, May 15, 1741).

German printmaker, painter and tapestry manufacturer, active in the Netherlands, England and France. He was the son of the engraver and bookseller Christoph Le Blon II (1639–after 1706), whose mother was a daughter of Matthäus Merian (i), granddaughter of Johann Theodor de Bry and half-sister of Maria Sibylle Merian. Between 1696 and 1702 Le Blon was in Rome and was perhaps a pupil of Carlo Maratti. He then moved to Amsterdam in 1702, where he worked as a miniature painter until 1717. He visited London in 1710 and lived there from 1718 to 1734. He began experimenting with colour-printing in 1710, and in 1719 was granted a privilege by George I to reproduce pictures and drawings in full colour (see Prints, §III, 6). However, the company he set up failed in 1725. In that year he published Coloritto: Or the Harmony of Colouring in Painting, in which he presented his theory that any colour as well as black could be achieved by mixing in varying proportions just three colours (red, yellow and blue—not, as has been suggested, based on Newton’s colour theory). In ...