Sunday, October 16, 2011


This week I accidentally discovered a rococo artist called Jean-Baptiste Perronneau (1715-1783) who was busy through the middle of the 18th century making mostly pastel portraits, mostly of people living along the edges of the French court.

Olivier Journu

présumé d'un fils de Le Moyne, sculpteur du Roi

Aignan-Thomas Desfriches

Jean-Baptiste Oudry

Mademoiselle Huquier

Jean-Baptiste Antoine Le Moyne

Madame de Sorquainville

It turns out that Perronneau didn't have a particularly successful career. He never became really fashionable, always outdone by rivals (though posterity apparently has endorsed his efforts more warmly than contemporaries did). In old age poor Perronneau was forced to find work in the provinces or in neighboring, less civilized countries like Holland and Germany. As far as I could discover, his own face was never recorded and nobody now knows what he looked like. Meanwhile his subjects still appear to be breathing and sighing and playing with their kittens, just as they have been doing for the past 250 years.