Henri Joseph HESSE

Paris 1781 - Paris 1849


Active as a draughtsman, painter and lithographer, but perhaps best known as a miniaturist, Henri-Joseph Hesse was a pupil of Jacques-Louis David and the painter and miniaturist Jean-Baptise Isabey. He exhibited intermittently at the Salons between 1808 and 1833, making his debut with a painting of A Young Woman Watching a Sleeping Child. At the Salon of 1810 he showed portraits and a number of miniatures, and won a second-class medal. Hesse travelled to Germany in 1815, but was back in Paris by the following year, when he is listed as a 'peintre en miniature' and living on the rue Neuve-Sainte-Eustache, in the Almanach de 25.000 adresses de Paris pour l'année 1816. Hesse became known in particular for his miniatures, although he also gained some important commissions for official portraits, notably one of the Duchesse de Berri, which was exhibited at the Salon of 1819. He won another medal at the last Salon in which he took part, in 1833. Hesse also produced a number of lithographic portraits. Both his older brother, Nicolas-Auguste Hesse (1795-1869), and his son, Alexandre Hesse (1806-1879) were active as painters; the latter achieved considerable fame as a painter of history subjects and religious works. Works by Henri-Joseph Hesse are today in the collections of the Musée Condé in Chantilly, the Fondation Custodia (Frits Lugt Collection) and the Louvre in Paris, as well as the Museo Lázaro Galdiano in Madrid and the Museum Briner und Kern in Winterthur.