Jean-Jacques de Boissieu
Lyon 1736 – Lyon 1810
Landscape with a Bridge and a Calvary (recto); Study of rocks (verso)
Grey and brown wash (recto); black chalk, grey and brown wash (verso). Inscribed J.J de Boissieu lower left and numbered 214?
Watermark pro patria.
198 x 320 mm
Provenance : Louis Deglatigny, Rouen (Lugt 1768a).
A painter and engraver born in Lyon, Jean Jacques de Boissieu was called the « French Rembrandt » because of his taste for Flemish and Dutch paintings, which he sometimes copied with great talent. After a first formation with Jean Charles Frontier (1701 – 1763), he settled in Paris in 1862 where he met the engraver Jean Georges Wille (1715 – 1808). A master in etching according to the art historian Jean Adhémar, Boissieu had a strong influence over younger engravers such as Charles Meryon, Félix Bracquemond and Eugène Bléry. During a trip to Italy in 1765 – 66 with Duc Alexandre de la Rochefoucauld, he studied the ancient remains and the roman landscapes. Very much admired, Boissieu was collected by Goethe and received the visit of the brother of the King of Prussia in his studio. During the French Revolution, he was protected by the painter David and his oeuvre was kept safe from destruction. His style, altogether simple, grave and full of feelings, perfectly matches the change of taste towards neo-classicism at the end of 18th century.
The inscription J.J. de Boissieu is not a signature and seems to have been added later. It does not coincide with the usual monogram DB, most often accompanied with a date. But the draughtsmanship undoubtedly compares with the artist’s: a careful and precise way to apply the grey and brown wash, precise description of foliage, inner energy combined with softness are the qualities of Boissieu’s landscapes. The spontaneous study of rocks on the verso is a rare souvenir of his work sur le motif.
Condition report: Good overall condition. Fixing tape on the top edge, traces of ripped fixing tapes on the three other edges.