LIOTARD, Jean-Etienne

Jean Etienne Liotard
Jean Etienne Liotard

The son of Huguenot refugees in Geneva, Liotard (1702-1789) is best known for his pastel paintings and portraits. His work is characterised by his careful craftsmanship and attention to detail, which contrasted the more common use of pastel as a loose, light medium, and highlighted the realism of Liotard’s approach.

Pastels were also easily transportable, allowing Liotard to travel widely in search of new subjects and commissions. He studied in Paris and then moved all over Europe including to Rome, Amsterdam, Constantinople, Vienna, and London. His explorations led him to paint some of the most famous individuals of his era, such as Marie Antoinette, the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the actor (and Huguenot) David Garrick.

He met his wife, Marie Fargues, the daughter of a Huguenot merchant living in Amsterdam, on his travels and went on to create studies and portraits of her and their children together.

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