Gilles-Marie Oppenord

Dates1672 - 1742
RolesArtist, Designer

A prolific and imaginative draftsman, Gilles-Marie Oppenord produced creative designs for everything from buildings to book illustrations. Son of the ébéniste Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt, Gilles-Marie grew up in the palace of the Louvre, where his father was given an apartment by the king. The young designer received his training in Italy, where he studied architecture and copied Roman monuments. Upon his return to France, he became the Directeur général des Bâtiments (Director of Buildings) to the duc d'Orléans in 1708. Even before the duc became the regent of France, Oppenord's career flourished with this powerful man as his patron. He was soon remodeling the duc's palace, the Palais-Royal, where he designed the complete interior and all its furnishings, from wall paneling and chimneypieces to clocks, chandeliers, mirrors, and candlesticks.

Royal patronage cemented his reputation, and Oppenord soon received many other commissions for private projects. Designs made for the Roman Catholic Church also occupied him: he executed one of his most important projects as chief architect of the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. At the end of his life, when architectural commissions dwindled, Oppenord produced ornate designs for books, including letters of the alphabet and elaborate borders for texts. His drawings were engraved and published after his death.

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