Edme Bouchardon

Dates1698 - 1762
RolesArtist, Engraver, Author, Designer

Edme Bouchardon was considered his century's greatest sculptor by many contemporaries, but his classicizing style was out of step with French tastes for the Rococo. Not only did King Louis XV offer few commissions, but of those commissions, most did not progress beyond the model stage. After winning the Prix de Rome, Bouchardon got first-hand experience of antique sculpture in Rome from 1723 to 1732, where he gained fame and commissions, even from the pope. In 1732 Bouchardon received an apartment in the Louvre, but he was subsequently underemployed for a decade. When the Salon was revived in 1737, Bouchardon exhibited his models as well as his famous red-chalk drawings; both were highly sought after by his peers, including François Boucher. Bouchardon also executed drawings of Paris street merchants, Cris de Paris, that were widely distributed as engravings; some figures were reproduced in porcelain by the Meissen porcelain manufactory. In 1745 he received membership in the Académie Royale and became a full professor two years later. Bouchardon's major commissions were executed slowly and with difficulty. His equestrian statue of Louis XV, incomplete at his death and destroyed in the French Revolution, required three hundred drawings. His most important surviving work is the fountain in the rue de Grenelle in Paris.