Johann Michael BAADER

Eichstätt 1729 - Paris 1792


A painter and etcher, Johann Michael Baader studied with Johann Georg Bergmüller in Augsburg before travelling to Rome, where he worked with Anton Raphael Mengs. In September 1762 Baader settled in Paris, where he studied at the Académie Royale. He met and befriended the engraver Johann Georg Wille, graveur du roi, whose studio in Paris was a meeting place for artists, collectors and dealers. (Wille was particularly influential among the younger generation of German and Swiss artists working in Paris, and counted among his pupils Adrian Zingg, Jakob Matthias Schmutzer and Ferdinand Kobell.) Baader joined Wille’s circle of students and followers on study trips outside Paris, making numerous landscape drawings. Baader worked in France for the remainder of his career, and in 1766 is recorded as a pupil of Noël Hallé at the Académie, where he won a prize for drawing. He was also influenced by the work of Jean-Baptiste Greuze. Accepted as a member of the Académie de Saint-Luc in 1775, Baader was soon afterward commissioned by the Marquis de Brunoy to work at his château. He also enjoyed the patronage of the Archbishopric of his native town of Eichstätt in Germany, by whom he was appointed Hoff- und Cabinets Maler and for whom he painted a Story of Jeptha. In the 1770s and 1780s a number of Baader’s drawings were reproduced as prints. Baader died, after a thirty-year career in Paris, of a cerebral haemorrhage, at the age of sixty-three. The day after his death, Wille wrote of him in his journal - an important source of information about the Parisian art world of the 18th century, published posthumously in 1857 - ‘If he was not a painter of the first rank, he was at least swift and painstaking; also, he was a very honest man, thrifty, but charitable; his exceedingly good humour made him a friend to all those who might know him.’

Drawings by Baader are rare. Examples are in the Musée Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Montmorency and the Albertina in Vienna.