(b Rouen, June 28, 1735; d Paris, Nov 14, 1813).
French painter and engraver. He was born into a family of prosperous artisans and at the age of 15 was sent to the drawing academy in Rouen run by Jean-Baptiste Descamps (?1715–91). Presumably Descamps introduced him to the art of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish artists. Descamps also recommended his promising pupil to the Paris engraver Jacques-Philippe Le Bas, whose studio Hoüel entered in 1755. While in Paris Hoüel taught engraving to the celebrated amateur Blondel d’Azincourt (who had inherited a superb collection from his father Blondel de Gagny). This marked Hoüel’s entry into cultivated high society, including the circle of the enlightened patron and hostess Mme Geoffrin.
Hoüel developed an interest in landscape painting early in his career. In 1758 he published a book of landscape engravings, consisting of six engravings after drawings by Boucher, and in 1764 he studied with the landscape and battle painter Francesco Casanova. In ...