A Frieze of Putti with a Chariot

Circle of Piat-Joseph Sauvage (1744-1818)

Biography



After studying in Tournai and Antwerp, Piat (or Pieter)-Joseph Sauvage settled in Paris in 1744, where he established himself as one of the leading proponents of decorative trompe l’oeil painting. He received commissions from the Prince de Condé and later served as court painter to Louis XVI, becoming a member of the Académie Royale in 1783. He returned often to Flanders, where he acquired paintings for the Comte d’Angivillier in 1785 and 1786. Although he painted a number of official portraits, Sauvage made a particular specialty of decorative grisaille friezes in imitation of classical sculptures in marble, bronze or terracotta, as well as miniatures inspired by antique cameos. His decorations may still be seen at the chateaux of Compiègne, where he worked in 1785, Rambouillet, painted between 1786 and 1787, and Fontainebleau, painted in 1786. Sauvage exhibited at the Salons in Paris between 1781 and 1804, and between 1804 and 1807 worked as a designer for the Sèvres porcelain factory. In 1808 he left Paris to take up a post as a professor of drawing at the Academy in his native Tournai. Among his significant works of his later career are a series of paintings of the Seven Sacraments for the cathedral in Tournai. Other paintings by Sauvage are today in museums in Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Lille and Tournai, as well as in the Hôtel de la Prefecture in La Rochelle and a number of churches in Belgium.