ALLEGRAIN, Christophe-Gabriel
(b. 1710, Paris, d. 1795, Paris)


Sculptor, part of a French family of artists. Etienne Allegrain (1644-1736) was a landscape painter who worked predominantly in the tradition of classical scenes established in the mid-17th century by Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain. His brother Jean-Baptiste Allegrain (1644-before 1714) was a sculptor, while his son Gabriel Allegrain (1679-1748) was also a landscape painter, whose works can be distinguished from those of his father only with difficulty. Gabriel's son Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain was a sculptor who was much influenced by his more illustrious contemporary and brother-in-law Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. Christophe-Gabriel's own son Gabriel Allegrain II (1733-after 1779) was a sculptor who worked in the naval dockyard at Rochefort.

Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain was a pupil of one Martin, an ornamental sculptor, and by his first marriage, in 1733, became brother-in-law to Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. He was accepted (agréé) by the Académie Royale in 1748 and received (reçu) as a full member in 1751 on presentation of the statuette Narcissus Gazing at his Reflection in the Water (plaster, exh. Salon 1747; marble, exh. Salon 1753; probably destroyed 1871).

His earlier career was dominated by the relationship with Pigalle, with whom he seems to have collaborated, probably in a subordinate capacity, on monuments including the mausoleum of the Maréchal de Saxe (marble, designed 1753; Strasbourg, St Thomas) and the monument to Louis XV for the Place Royale, Reims (bronze, completed 1765; partially destroyed). Other works were executed to the designs of others, such as the stone female statue, the Butter-churner (untraced), commissioned in 1753 by Mme de Pompadour for her dairy at the château of Crécy and based on a drawing by François Boucher. Apart from this statue his sole court commission was the Venus at Bath (Paris, Louvre), commissioned in 1756 and completed c. 1767, which is his most famous work.

His own talents and limitations in the field of portrait sculpture and funerary art can be appreciated in the monument to Charles-Joseph de Pollinchove (marble, set up 1763) in the church of St Pierre, Douai.