My Recent Work
My Recent Work
Joseph Siffred Duplessis (1725 -1802)
Joseph Siffred Duplessis received his earliest instruction from his father. When his father decided that Duplessis had gone as far as he could take him, Duplessis moved to Rome in 1744. There Pierre Subleyras took the 19 year old under his wing and provided tutoring in portraiture to the young man. Duplessis built a large following, becoming very popular and wealthy. Duplessis was commanded to become the French King’s painter. Knowing better than to refuse, Duplessis moved to Paris. He was elected to the Academie Royale in 1764. Because of his popularity, Duplessis could pick and choose which commissions to take. He was strictly a portraitist, having no interest in landscapes or history painting. The members of the Royal Court wanted him to paint their portraits too. Duplessis became a real rainmaker during his career at court. Most commonly, he painted the half length of the sitter but ultimately went to the 3/4 length. This gave sitters the opportunity to wear their fanciest clothes which were just as important as the subject. During this era, Benjamin Franklin was appointed American ambassador to France. His mission was to convince the French to aid their brothers in freedom with gold and silver. As a consequence, the King’s portraitist, Duplessis, was assigned to paint Franklin several times over the course of his stay. Once he used pastel for a portrait and that is his only work in that medium. Franklin appealed to both the American and French people, so much so that in 1934, the Federal Reserve engraved Franklin’s portrait, by Duplessis, on the $100 bill.