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Wolfgang Adam Toepfer

(1766 Geneva – 1847 Morillon)

In his early years the Swiss painter, Wolfgang Adam Toepfer, was active in Geneva and Lausanne. In the late 1780s he underwent further training at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was taught watercolour painting by Jean-Thomas Thibault. After returning to Geneva Toepfer first worked as a drawing teacher and portraitist, after which he devoted himself to his true vocation as a landscape painter. This he did at the sugges­tion of his artist friend, Pierre-Louis de la Rive, with whom he explored his native landscape, thus becoming one of the precursors of plein air painting. In the early 19th century Toepfer’s art was well known to a wider public. His noble clients included Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia and the French Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, to whom he gave drawing lessons in 1807. Wolfgang Toepfer was the father of the famous novelist and caricaturist, Rodolphe Toepfer (1799–1846).