Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Location of death: Geneva, Switzerland
Cause of death: unspecified
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Swiss portrait painter
Swiss painter, born at Geneva. He began his studies under Professor Gardelle and Petitot, whose enamels and miniatures he copied with considerable skill, He went to Paris in 1725, studying under J. B. Masse and F. le Moyne, on whose recommendation he was taken to Naples by the Marquis Puysieux. In 1735 he was in Rome, painting the portraits of Pope Clement XII and several cardinals. Three years later he accompanied Lord Duncannon to Constantinople, whence he went to Vienna in 1742 to paint the portraits of the imperial family. His eccentric adoption of oriental costume secured him the nickname of "the Turkish painter." Still under distinguished patronage he returned to Paris in 1744, visited England, where he painted the Princess of Wales in 1753, and went to Holland in 1756, where, in the following year, he married Marie Fargues. Another visit to England followed in 1772, and in the next two years his name figures among the Royal Academy exhibitors. He returned to his native town in 1776 and died at Geneva in 1789.
Liotard was an artist of great versatility, and though his fame depends largely on his graceful and delicate pastel drawings, of which "La Liseuse", "the Chocolate Girl", and "La Belle Lyonnaise" at the Dresden Gallery are delightful examples, he achieved distinction by his enamels, copperplate engravings and glass painting. He also wrote a Treatise on the Art of Painting, and was an expert collector of paintings by the old masters. Many of the masterpieces he had acquired were sold by him at high prices on his second visit to England. The museums of Amsterdam, Berne, and Geneva are particularly rich in examples of his paintings and pastel drawings. A picture of a Turk seated is at the Victoria and Albert Museum, while the British Museum owns two of his drawings. The Louvre has, besides twenty-two drawings, a portrait of General Hérault and a portrait of the artist is to be found at the Sala dei pittori, in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
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