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Joseph-Desire Court

Biography of Artist

Joseph-Désiré COURT

14 September 1797 – 23 January 1865

Court was a French painter of historical subjects and portraits .

He was a painter, pastellist and draughtsman.

Court was born at Rouen .

As a young man he showed exceptional artistic promise and became a pupil at the École des Beaux-Arts  under Gros in Paris. After carrying off the principal honours there he pursued his studies still further at Rome where he was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1821. High expectations were formed of him when, at his second showing ( the first had been in 1824)  he exhibited in 1827 'The Death of Caesar,' a work manifesting earnest thought, and a conscientious handling of the facts of history. This work caused a sensation and was purchased by the state; it is now preserved in the Louvre . He again showed his talent as a painter with his submission to the Salon of 1833, 'Boissy-d'Anglas saluting the head of Féraud.'

He played a significant role in producing paintings for Versailles. In 1853 he was appointed director of the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Rouen, and remained at this post until his death.

Having shown himself in this and other works a vigorous painter, capable of seizing a subject with a masterly grasp, and having also in the region of portrait painting proved himself an artist of merit, he eventually dissipated his talents in the production of a series of empty official pictures painted by order of Louis Philippe . He died in Rouen in 1865.

He was awarded a first-class medal in 1831 and was made a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur in 1838.

He has works in the museums of :

Alencon, Amsterdam, Beziers, Bordeaux, Chantilly, Honfleur, Montpellier, Lyons, Paris, Rouen, Tours, Trieste, Versailles and Perigeux.