Jean Baptiste Le Prince – L’Enfant Chéri

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Sanguine chalk on laid paper, laid down on wove paper and mounted. Engraved by Nicolas de Launay (1759-1793) and published 1784.

Height varies between 250mm RHS and 240mm.
Width varies between 216mm – 221mm.




This drawing was produced during the artist’s travels through the Russian Empire from 1757 to 1763, Le Prince amassed numerous studies of the communities and cultures he encountered. After returning to Paris, he drew on this material to produce an extensive number of paintings, drawings, and prints that purported to depict the various peoples and customs contained in the empire. The subject in the drawing was used in a composition for a painting which was reproduced in an engraving titled: L’Enfant Chéri [The Darling Child] engraved by Nicolas de Launay; published in 1784.


Prince, Jean Baptiste Le (1734-1781)

Two influences were paramount for Jean-Baptiste Le Prince: his teacher François Boucher and his stay in Russia. Born to a family of ornamental sculptors and gilders, Le Prince began studying with Boucher around 1750. His master's tightly controlled brushwork and highly finished surfaces influenced him greatly, along with Boucher's affection for scenes with shepherds and shepherdesses. By 1757 Le Prince was painting at the Imperial Palace in Saint Petersburg. He traveled extensively in Russia, perhaps even to Siberia. Returning to Paris five years later and eager to make a name for himself, Le Prince created paintings and etchings of the Russian countryside and daily life, often using Russian costumes and small mannequins to get the exactitude he desired. Le Prince not only became famous for creating this new kind of genre picture, but he also perfected the technique of making aquatints. Upon becoming a member of the Académie Royale in 1765, Le Prince exhibited fifteen paintings at that year's Salon, all Russian subjects. The Beauvais Tapestry Manufactory wove his Russian Games tapestry cartoons many times. After 1770 Le Prince's health declined and he left Paris for the French countryside, where he painted landscapes and pastoral subjects.