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Johann Anton de Peters

1725–1795, Cologne

Johann Anton de Peters went to Paris around 1745 and did not return to his native city until the late 1780s. He pursued a successful career as an artist in France. He was raised to the peer­age by Louis XV around 1763 and appointed court painter by King Christian VII of Denmark on the occasion of the latter’s visit to Paris in 1768/69. Peters undertook the obligatory journey to Rome, where he became a member of the renowned Accademia di San Luca. In Paris, Peters enjoyed friendly ties with his fellow German, Johann Georg Wille, who gave him commis­sions for miniatures. Peters was profoundly influenced in his painting and drawing by his great models, Watteau, Lancret, Fragonard and, in particular, Boucher. His court-style Rococo paintings – gallant scenes and depictions of everyday life along with bib­lical and mythological subjects – were fully in keeping with the zeitgeist of the ancien régime and, as mentioned above, earned him a noble title. The Revolution put an inglorious end to Peters’ artistic career, however, forcing him to return to Cologne, where he died in his sister’s house in 1795.