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Peter Mitchell

(b St Pierre de Vaise, Lyon, May 17, 1754; d Lyon, Oct 24, 1843).

French painter, teacher and designer. According to his uncorroborated 19th-century biographer J. Gaubin, he was intended for holy orders and began studying flower painting as a novice (Rev. Lyon., i, 1856). Certainly he studied drawing under the sculptor Antoine-Michel Perrache (1726–79) and worked for Lyon’s silk industry as a textile designer, visiting Paris annually, ostensibly to keep abreast of the latest fashions. He first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1791 and settled in Paris in about 1794, probably as a consequence of the catastrophic siege and destruction of Lyon by revolutionary forces the previous year. Initially he eked out a precarious living decorating snuff-boxes and painting miniatures, supported by friends such as Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, the poetess, and the miniature painter Jean-Baptiste Augustin, to whom Berjon dedicated The Gift (1797; Lyon, Mus. B.-A.). He contributed to seven Paris Salons between 1796 and 1819 and again in ...

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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....

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Helmut Börsch-Supan

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Helmut Börsch-Supan

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Sandra Sider

Folk art, or vernacular art (specific to a group or place), developed in Colonial America out of necessity when individual households produced most of the utilitarian objects required for daily life. Using traditional tools and techniques, many of these makers created pieces in which aesthetics came to play a substantial role, through form, ornamentation, or both. In some groups, notably the Shakers, function was emphasized, with pure form evoking an aesthetic and spiritual response. Religious beliefs have informed American folk art, such as the saints and other figures (Santos) carved and painted by Catholic settlers in the Southwest as early as 1700. Although the majority of folk art is now anonymous, the oeuvre of numerous individual artists can be determined by their distinctive styles or marks. Folk art is often considered within the field of ‘material culture’, with an emphasis on the object’s context rather than its creator. Most American folk art falls within three categories: painting and cut paper, textiles and fibre, and three-dimensional work such as furniture, carvings, metalwork, ceramics, and outdoor installations....

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Edward J. Nygren

(b Burton in Kendall or Lorton, Cumbria, 1760; d Brooklyn, NY, Aug 12, 1820).

American painter of English birth. In England he was apprenticed to a tailor and then worked in the textile trade. A business failure prompted him to leave London for New York in 1795. By early 1798 he was settled in Baltimore, MD, where he lived for the next 20 years. Having unsuccessfully attempted to establish a dyeing operation, he took up painting as a livelihood. Basically self-taught, Guy specialized in American views, especially cityscapes, although he occasionally painted English landscapes and treated more exotic places, undoubtedly using prints as sources of inspiration. The Tontine Coffee House of New York (New York, NY Hist. Soc.), one of his first major paintings, was probably executed in the early 1800s, although it has frequently been dated 1797. Guy is especially known for his panoramas of Baltimore (Large View of Baltimore from Chapel Hill, 1803; New York, Brooklyn Mus.) and for his meticulous renderings of various sites in and around his adopted city. He executed numerous views of country estates, some of which decorated painted chairs and tables made by the Finlay Brothers (Baltimore, MD, Mus. A.). Many of his paintings are preserved in the Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore. With their crisply drawn forms, strolling couples and atmospheric clarity his compositions have a charming naive quality, reflective of Guy’s limited training but innate artistic ability; they also project an idyllic view of the young republic, its cultural development and natural potential....

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A.-G. Wahlberg

(b Väddö, nr Stockholm, Nov 18, 1732; d Stockholm, Aug 13, 1816).

Swedish painter and tapestry-weaver. In 1743–4 he was apprenticed to the tapestry designer and decorative painter Johan Filip Korn (1728–96) in Stockholm and at the same time was a pupil at the Kungliga Akademi för de Fria Konsterna, where he took drawing lessons. In 1744 Christian Fehner, a German fan painter living in Sweden, took him as his apprentice. In 1747 Carl Hårleman apprenticed him to the French high-warp weaver Pierre-Louis Duru (d 1753), and for the next ten years he served as Royal Weaver to the Swedish Court. His first large commission was the throne canopy (1746–53) for the Audience Chamber in the Kungliga Slott in Stockholm. In 1757–8 he went to Paris to study weaving at the Savonnerie factory but instead he took classes in pastel and oil painting from Boucher and Chardin. After his return to Sweden he wove parade carpets and did tapestry portraits of Hårleman (Mariefred, Gripsholm Slott), and of Gustav III and his sister Princess Sofia Albertina (Mariefred, Gripsholm Slott) after originals by ...

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Helmut Börsch-Supan

German family of artists. Christian Wilhelm Kolbe (c. 1715–1800) lived in Berlin where he made embroideries worked in gold thread; his brother Johann Diederich Kolbe (d 1786) was a goldsmith. Christian Wilhelm’s wife came from a Huguenot family, and their two sons Christian Friedrich Kolbe (b 1758), who was an embroiderer working in gold thread, and (1) Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (i) grew up in an atmosphere steeped in French culture. Carl Wilhelm’s son was (2) Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (ii), the most important representative of the Romantic history painting movement in Berlin, and a relation by marriage to Daniel Chodowiecki, who influenced his career. Johann Diederich’s son, Heinrich Christian Kolbe (1771–1836), was a painter in Düsseldorf, whose realistic portraits were executed in a Neo-classical style that he alone employed after the appointment of Wilhelm Schadow as Director of the Staatliche Kunstakademie in 1826...

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(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 ...

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(b Rouen, Nov 11, 1738; d Paris, May 7, 1826).

French painter, illustrator and writer. He began his studies in Rouen and, at 17, won first prize for drawing at the city’s Académie. Shortly afterwards he travelled to Paris, entering the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture as a student of Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre. In 1767–8 he was in Rome, a fact confirmed by a number of dated and inscribed drawings and paintings, including the pen, ink and wash drawing Landscape Inspired by the Gardens of the Villa d’Este at Tivoli (Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.). He was in Switzerland in 1776, where he spent several years drawing illustrations for Beát Zurlauben’s Tableau de la Suisse ou voyage pittoresque fait dans les treize cantons du Corps Helvétique (Paris, 1780–86). In 1780, having returned to France, he was approved (agréé) by the Académie Royale and received (reçu) in 1785 with Jupiter Asleep on Mount Ida (Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.). Thereafter he regularly exhibited moralistic pictures at the Salon until ...

Article

Andrzej Ryszkiewicz

(b Saxony, c. 1687; d Warsaw, Aug 4, 1737).

German painter, draughtsman and theatrical designer, active in Poland. Educated in the international artistic milieu of Dresden, he demonstrated decidedly French features in his work. He was employed at the court of the Saxon Electors, supplying cartoons for the manufacture of tapestries in Dresden and producing paintings, usually in gouache, depicting ceremonial occasions in the city and at court, for example the Solemn Entrance (1710; untraced) and the Arrival of King Augustus III in Warsaw, 25 November 1734 (Dresden, Schloss Moritzburg). In c. 1723 he settled in Warsaw, where from at least 1724 he painted scenery for the royal theatre, exhibiting a developed decorative sense and a versatile facility. In 1731 he became court painter to Augustus II, King of Poland, and in 1735 ‘first painter’ to Augustus III. A citizen of Old Warsaw from 1732, converted to Roman Catholicism, he amassed a considerable fortune from business schemes.

In Warsaw, as in Dresden, Mock painted scenes of major court ceremonies, designed architectural and decorative projects for such occasions and executed decorative symbolic scenes, such as allegories of the nations, including ...

Article

Rococo  

Richard John and Ludwig Tavernier

A decorative style of the early to mid-18th century, primarily influencing the ornamental arts in Europe, especially in France, southern Germany and Austria. The character of its formal idiom is marked by asymmetry and naturalism, displaying in particular a fascination with shell-like and watery forms. Further information on the Rococo can be found in this dictionary within the survey articles on the relevant countries.

Richard John

The nature and limits of the Rococo have been the subject of controversy for over a century, and the debate shows little sign of resolution. As recently as 1966, entries in two major reference works, the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture and the Enciclopedia universale dell’arte (EWA), were in complete contradiction, one altogether denying its status as a style, the other claiming that it ‘is not a mere ornamental style, but a style capable of suffusing all spheres of art’. The term Rococo seems to have been first used in the closing years of the 18th century, although it was not acknowledged by the ...

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B. C. Sliggers and E. Caljé-van den Berg

Dutch family of artists. They were Mennonites from Haarlem, and about ten members of the family practised as artists during the 17th and 18th centuries. Some members of the family were also employed in the manufacture and sale of textiles. (1) Vincent Laurensz. van der Vinne is best known for his travel diaries and sketches. It is possible that some of the drawings attributed to him are by his son Laurens Vincentsz. van der Vinne (1658–1729), whose brothers (2) Jan Vincentsz. van der Vinne and Izaak Vincentsz. van der Vinne (1665–1740) were also artists. Three of Laurens’s children worked as painters and engravers: Vincent Laurensz. van der Vinne (1686–1742), Jacob Laurensz. van der Vinne (1688–1737) and Jan Laurensz. van der Vinne (1699–1753). In the next generation Jacob’s son Laurens Jacobsz. van der Vinne (1712–42) became a flower painter, and two of Jan’s children, ...