Riesener, Louis Antoine Léon (1808-1878)
Louis’s grandfather, Jean Henri Riesener (1734-1806), was “ordinary carpenter Crown” and his father Henri-François was a recognized portrait painter. He is also the cousin of Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863), who gave him strong support throughout his career. Léon Riesener took his first drawing lessons with his father and entered the workshop of Baron Gros (1771-1835). He exhibited at the Salon from 1831 with large naturalistic paintings and was awarded a third class medal in 1836 thanks to works like “Flora” and “The Bacchae” which made his reputation as a painter of mythological nudes. During his career, he painted all kinds of subjects, including landscapes and portraits that make up the largest share of his production. He painted a series of pastel portraits of his relatives, many of whom appear at the salon 1850-51.
At a sale after his death many of his studies were rediscovered, where he put into practice the principles on the light that will later be developed by the Impressionists. Léon Riesener also received state orders for decorative work: painting seven boxes for the Library of the House of Lords – current Senate (1840-1852), the chapel of the Hospice de Charenton (1843-1849), the exhibition Prévôts of the old Town Hall (1852) and the Chapel of the Seven Sorrows of the Saint Eustache Church (1854-1857). He gets quite late recognition, however, since it was only in 1873 that he received the Knight Order of the Legion of Honour and entered the Musée du Luxembourg with his “Bacchae”. Riesener died in Paris in his house the Cours la Reine, May 25, 1878.