Michel Vincent Brandoin

(Vevey, 1733 – 1790)


The son of a Huguenot French lawyer who had taken refuge in Vevey, Michel-Vincent Brandoin initially turned to commerce and, from 1748, worked in a cloth factory in Amsterdam, then in Turin. He settled in Chelsea (London) in 1762, dividing his time between business and painting. He took lessons from the watercolourist Paul Sandby, professor of drawing at the Royal Military College in Woolwich and founding member of the Royal Academy in London in 1768;

Brandoin presented watercolours at the exhibitions of the Society of Artists of Great Britain under the name "Charles Brandoin of Chelsea". By February 1770, his name was mentioned among the students of the Royal Academy School. Brandoin returned to Vevey around 1773. From 1775 onwards, he was in charge of the French Bourse, while continuing an artistic career essentially devoted to watercolour landscapes and architectural drawings. Brandoin produced numerous watercolour compositions, antique-style reconstructions in the style of the French Piranesians, and topographical drawings, in line with those of Paul Sandby, intended mainly for foreign buyers passing through Vevey during their Grand Tour peregrinations. Scattered in numerous museums and private collections, Brandoin's work has never been the subject of a comprehensive study. The artist's role in the diffusion of neoclassicism in French-speaking Switzerland is certainly not negligible, but difficult to evaluate without a catalogue raisonné of his works: the monumental works, as well as the drawings in the Musée historique de Vevey, give a glimpse of the quality of his production.

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