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Jacques-Francois Swebach-Attrib. "Un convoi Napoleonienne", oil on canvas, early 19th century
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The depicted scene could be titled in French "Un convoi Napoleonienne" (Napoleonic wagon train). It seems to be one of the numerous (see our comparison images nr.15-37) paintings of the same subject made by well-known battle and horse artist of the 1st Empire and early Restoration periods, Jacques-Francois Swebach-Desfontaines.
Jacques-Francois (-Joseph) Swebach (also Swebach-Desfontaines or Swebach de Fontaine) was born in 1769 in Metz and died in Paris in 1823. After being taught the rudiments of drawing by his father, the painter, sculptor and engraver Francois-Louis Swebach, he left Metz for Paris where he studied under Michel H. Duplessis (fl. 1780-99). By 1788 Jacques-Francois had gained a certain reputation for his paintings and drawings of soldiers and horses. He exhibited at the Salon between 1791 and1823 and received a medal in the Salon of 1810. Between 1802 and 1813 he was Premier Peintre at the Sévres porcelain factory and was involved in the decoration of several services. Until ca. 1808 he painted landscapes in collaboration with the French painter Georges Michel.
From 1815 to 1820 he worked (invited by Count Guriev) in St. Petersburg for Tsar Alexander I as Premier Peintre to the Imperial porcelain factory, but continued to send small paintings to the Salon de Paris. During his stay in Russia Swebach achieved a wide popularity among the Russian aristocracy. The works he sent from Russia to the Salon de Paris gained him the favor of critics, who praised his pictures as being full of "wit and refinement" and described him as the "Wouwerman of our time".
Apart from a few official commissions still in France, such as the "Cavalcade and Drive in Barouches" for the Chateau de Malmaison (1800; Montpellier Musée Fabre), he worked for private collectors, who prized his small paintings for the accuracy in the depiction of horses, the proliferation of detail and anecdotes, the precise drawing and the bright colors. He was condemned by his success to repeat the same pictures to please his clients; hunting scenes and horse markets, military convoys and skirmishes. He was a rival of Jean-Louis Demarne in the representation of such scenes, set in brilliantly lit landscapes and portrayed with a precision and naivety reminiscent of Nicolas-Antoine Taunay, although less poetic. He could depict narrative and characterize small group scenes with humor, somewhat in the manner of Louis-Léopold Boilly.
Swebach also produced many engravings; he participated in the "Complete Collection of Historical Scenes of the French Revolution" (1802) and engraved the "French Campaign under the Consulate and the Empire: Album of 52 battles and 100 portraits of Marshals". He collected his graphic works in the "Picturesque Encyclopaedia" (1806).
Works of this artist can be viewed in most important museum worldwide: France, Russia, Germany, USA, etc.
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Provenance: private collection, Mayenne, region Pays de la Loire, France
Condition: good, in magnificent Empire frame
Creation Year: early 19th Century
Measurements: UNFRAMED:49,3x64,3cm/19,4x25,3in FRAMED: 63,5x78,2cm/25,0x30,8in
Object Type: Framed oil painting
Style: 19th century paintings
Technique: oil on canvas
Creator: Jacques-Francois-Joseph Swebach-Desfontaines
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!
Creator Dates: 1769 Metz-1823 Paris
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