Jean Rodolphe Gautier

(Geneva, 1764 – Paris, 1820)


Born in Geneva, young Gautier embarked on his artistic journey by apprenticing under the painter-enameler J.F. Favre in 1784. Despite his initial training, Gautier developed a distinct inclination towards oil painting and aspired to broaden his artistic horizons. Like many of his fellow Geneva painters, he found inspiration in the French art scene. Following the footsteps of numerous French painters, Gautier decided to make his mark in Rome, where he firmly established himself by 1789. In that pivotal year, he sent three Italian views back to Geneva for exhibition. While in Rome, Gautier, influenced by the prevailing artistic currents, sought a more formalized approach to landscape painting, rooted in the traditions of the 17th century. Although Valenciennes had already left Rome by the time Gautier arrived, the latter was keen on following a similar path. In 1793, Gautier relocated to Paris, where he would spend the remainder of his life. By this time, Valenciennes had become the dominant figure in landscape painting, and Gautier, recognizing his influence, sought to emulate him. Gautier's initial exhibited works in Paris included two small finished paintings, two drawings, and two oil sketches—a somewhat unconventional selection, yet likely constrained by the limited time since his arrival. Over the next years, he continued to exhibit works, showcasing Italian views, seascapes, and watercolors, demonstrating his evolving style. His exhibitions in 1796, 1801, 1814, and 1817 reflected a consistent commitment to his craft. While his work bore resemblance to that of his contemporary, Bertin, Gautier's art was distinguished by its robustness. This quality proved particularly well-suited to the military subjects he was commissioned to produce from the late 1790s onward. Gautier's artistic journey, spanning from Geneva to Rome and ultimately Paris, illustrates his dedication to evolving his craft and finding his place within the dynamic landscape of 18th and 19th-century European art.

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