Jean-Jacques Pradier

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Jean-Jacques Pradier (1790 – 1852) was a Genevan-born French sculptor best known for his work in the neoclassical style. Born in Geneva (what used to be th Republic of Geneva), Pradier was the son of a Protestant family from Toulouse. He left for Paris in 1807 to work with his elder brother, Charles-Simon Pradier, an engraver, and also attended the École des Beaux-Arts beginning in 1808. He won a Prix de Rome that enabled him to study in Rome from 1814 to 1818 at the Villa Medici. Pradier made his debut at the Salon in 1819 and quickly acquired a reputation as a competent artist. He studied under Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in Paris. In 1827 he became a member of the Académie des beaux-arts and a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Pradier oversaw the finish of his sculptures himself. He was a friend of the Romantic poets Alfred de Musset, Victor Hugo, Théophile Gautier, and the young Gustave Flaubert. His workshop was a meeting place for artists, presided over by his mistress, Juliette Drouet, who became Victor Hugo’s mistress in 1833. After the liaison with Drouet ended, Pradier married Louise d’Arcet (1814-1885), daughter of the French chemist Jean-Pierre-Joseph d’Arcet, in 1833. They separated in 1845, after Pradier had become aware of her infidelities. They had three children: Charlotte (1834), John (1836), and Thérèse (1839).