Jean Baptiste Greuze

(French, 1725 - 1805)

portrait d’un jeune enfant by jean baptiste greuze

Jean Baptiste Greuze

Portrait d’un jeune enfant

portrait of a young girl looking over her shoulder by jean baptiste greuze

Jean Baptiste Greuze

Portrait of a Young Girl looking over her shoulder, um 1770

tête de juenne garçon by jean baptiste greuze

Jean Baptiste Greuze

Tête de Juenne Garçon



After a period of study in Lyon, Jean-Baptiste Greuze arrived in Paris around 1750 and entered the studio of Charles-Joseph Natoire. He was admitted into the Académie Royale as an associate member in 1755, in the category of peintre de genre particulier, but did not gain full membership as an Academician until 1769. His paintings of moralizing genre subjects, exhibited at the annual Salons, earned him the praise of the influential critic Denis Diderot. He was also a superb portraitist, exhibiting a number of portraits at the Salon throughout the 1760’s to considerable acclaim. While Greuze enjoyed the patronage of such prominent collectors as Jean de Jullienne, La Live de Jully, the Duc de Choiseul and the Empress Catherine II of Russia, his difficult temperament often alienated other clients. Even the artist’s great champion Diderot, writing to the sculptor Falconet in 1767, described Greuze as ‘an excellent artist, but a totally impossible person. One should collect his drawings and pictures, and leave the man alone’. Angered by the rejection of his reception piece by the Académie in 1769, Greuze refrained from exhibiting at the Salon until 1800. His reputation suffered after the Revolution, and he died in relative obscurity.