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Augustin-Désiré Pajou

(1800 Paris – 1878 Elbeuf)

La famille du Statuaire Pajou. Lithograph. 35.7 x 28.6 cm. 1822. Beraldi 1.

The painter and lithographer, Augustin-Désiré Pajou, was the son of the painter, Jacques Pajou (1766–1828), and the grandson of the famous Augustin Pajou (1730–1809), one of the foremost 18th century French sculptors. Born in Paris in 1800, Augustin-Désiré was first taught by his father and later by Baron Antoine-Jean Gros and Louis Hersent. He regularly exhibited his portraits, history and genre scenes at the Paris Salon.

The close relationship Pajou enjoyed with his father and famous grandfather is reflected in the present lithograph the young artist made in 1822, at the centre of which is a medal with the profile portrait of the Statuaire Pajou surrounded by portraits of the other members of the family who were still alive at the time. The young man in the right foreground is in all probability the young Pajou himself, who was just 22 years of age at the time the lithograph was made. The young woman next to him with a delightful smile on her face is probably his newly-wed wife Angélique-Félicité Ansiaux, the daughter of the Belgian neoclassical painter, Jean-Joseph Éléonore Antoine Ansiaux. The charming composition of the lithograph is in all likelihood based on a pastel drawing by Auguste-Désiré’s father Jacques (Paris, private collection, see Draper fig. 232). The family portrait motif dates from the Pajou dynasty’s past – a painting made by Jacques Pajou in 1802 shows not only the artist himself and his wife Marie-Marguerite, but also his grandfather Augustin as well as an aunt, a godchild and the two-year-old Augustin-Désiré (La famille de l’artiste Jacques-Augustin-Catherine Pajou, oil on wood, 79 x 68.5 cm, Département des Peintures, Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. RF2014–1). The lithograph is extremely rare. Draper records just two known impressions, one of which is in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. A fine impression with margins. Minor staining and creasing, other minor ageing and traces of handling, otherwise in excellent condition.

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