DEFERNEX, Jean-Baptiste
(b. ca. 1729, Paris, d. 1783, Paris)


French sculptor. He stood outside the official academic establishment of French art in the 18th century, beginning his career as a modeller at the Vincennes-Sèvres porcelain manufactory, where he worked between 1754 and 1757, prior to the appointment of Etienne-Maurice Falconet as head of the sculpture studio. His task was to translate designs by François Boucher into clay models from which porcelain figures were made. Among his works for Sèvres are the Milkmaid and the Butter Churner (both Sèvres, Musée National de Céramique), reduced versions of the stone statuettes designed by Boucher for Mme de Pompadour's dairy at the Château de Crécy, near Abbeville. In 1760 Defernex became a member of the Académie de St-Luc and in 1762 exhibited at its Salon two talc statuettes in a similar charming manner, the Stone-cutter and its pendant, the Girl Shelling Oysters (both untraced).

He was sculptor to the Duc d'Orléans, and worked in the Palais Royal on some gilded lead groups of children. He was not a member of the Académie royal but belonged to that of St Luke, and himself ran a school for sculpture and drawing. He received no official commissions for sculpture.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.