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Jean-Baptiste Le Prince

1734 Metz
1781 St. Denis du Port

The French genre, landscape and portrait painter and copper engraver Jean-Baptiste Le Prince was born in Metz on September 17, 1734. He was the son of a sculptor. Around the year 1750, Le Prince left for Paris, where he received his first instruction with Francois Boucher (1703 – 70).
In 1754 he undertook a trip to Italy, and three years later he went to St. Petersburg by way of the Netherlands. Here he received various commissions for the Winter Palace, among them three overdoors for the parade room (1758), 34 overdoors (1760) for the private rooms of Catherine the Great (1729 – 96) and the ceiling piece in the small cabinet next to the bedroom of the Empress. In May 1762, Jean-Baptiste Le Prince left St. Petersburg and returned to Paris. With him he brought a large supply of sketches and studies.
In Paris the artist became in 1764 "agréé", in 1765 "académicien" and in 1775 "conseiller à l’Academie". Already beginning in the year 1765, Le Prince exhibited in the Salon. In that year he provided the Salon with 15 works, among them numerous representations from Russian peasant life and Russian vedutas.
In the same year, he became a member of the Royal Academy. Later, the artist started up the short-lived "Russian fashion". Beginning in the year 1769, Jean-Baptiste Le Prince completed the 6 cardboard box paintings for the famous series "Jeux russes", which was produced in many copies by the rug factory Beauvais.
Jean-Baptiste Le Prince died on September 30, 1781 in St. Denis du Port.

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