LE PAUTRE, Jean
(b. 1618, Paris, d. 1682, Paris)
Designer and engraver, part of a French family of artists. Adrien Le Pautre was a master joiner. Of his three notable sons Jean Le Pautre was a designer and printmaker, whose published works, sold singly or in sets, were an important conduit for disseminating French architectural taste throughout Europe in the 17th century.
Jean Le Pautre was active as a printmaker from 1643 but was most prolific in the 1660s. His output was prodigious, with 2348 prints having been recorded, and his range of subjects was extremely broad: interior decoration, including specific studies for bed alcoves, chimney-pieces, ceilings, wallpapers, furniture, friezes, vases, trophies, tapestry, garden ornament and grottoes were all explored in detail and executed with remarkable facility. He was equally at home delineating landscape and the human figure.
Le Pautre's engravings are notable for their richness and their spirited and vivacious conception. Bernini held him in high respect, and clearly the admiration was returned. This is most evident in Le Pautre's set of engravings devoted to garden ornaments, which have elaborately ornamented borders that exhibit the same plasticity and movement found in Bernini's sculptures. Le Pautre's knowledge of Italian art was probably acquired second-hand: in 1645 he engraved a series of drawings of antique and Baroque ornament made by his teacher, Adam Philippon, in Italy.
In 1670 he is recorded as being in the employ of the crown, and in 1677 he was elected to the Académie Française as a dessignateur and graveur. Many of his works were reprinted in 1751 by the publisher Jombert. According to Guilmard, Le Pautre was responsible for instigating the Louis XIV style, the grandiose and sumptuous character of which is evident in his prints.