CHAUVEAU, François
(b. 1613, Paris, d. 1676, Paris)


Etcher, draughtsman and painter, part of a French family of artists. The sons of the etcher François Chauveau (1613-1676) included three painters, Louis Chauveau (c. 1656-after 1695), Charles Chauveau (b 1658/9; fl c. 1683) and Evrard Chauveau (1660-1793) and also one sculptor, René Chauveau (1663-1722).

François Chauveau's family belonged to the minor nobility; a decline in its fortunes obliged him to earn his living as an artist. Although he had been a pupil of Laurent de La Hyre, he forsook painting (except as an amateur), devoting himself wholly to printmaking; he became one of the most prolific etchers of his time, executing, in particular, a great many vignettes for books. He had an extraordinary facility in composition; his own oeuvre numbers more than 1600 prints, and he made some 1400 drawings for other printmakers. He was the 17th century's most popular illustrator of fiction and plays.

In 1663 Chauveau was admitted (reçu) to the Académie Royale and made a councillor. For Louis XIV he engraved (1664-70) the Carrousel de 1662: the quality of his work earned him the title of Graveur du Roi and a pension of 600 livres. He also set out to engrave, after Eustache Le Sueur, a series of the Life of St Bruno but died before finishing the work, which was completed by Sébastien Leclerc the Elder. The inventory made after Chauveau's death mentions various paintings by him.

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