TARAVAL, French family of artists

Guillaume-Thomas-Raphaël Taraval (1701-1750) was a painter and a pupil of Claude Audran III. In 1732 he went to Sweden to take part in the decoration of the new Royal Palace in Stockholm. His painting, even such religious work as his ceiling for the palace chapel (1740), has a light-hearted and celebratory Rococo air. He was the first principal of the Swedish Royal Academy of Drawing, founded in 1735.

His elder son, Hugues Taraval, was one of the last 18th-century masters of large-scale decorative painting working in France.

Hugues's brother, Louis-Gustave Taraval (1738-1794), was an architectural draughtsman and engraver who went to France after his father's death. His designs include a triumphal arch for Adolphus Frederick, King of Sweden (1767; New York, Cooper-Hewitt Museum), a classicising temple (Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts) as well as elaborate Rococo interiors. He also made engravings after the works of Jean-François Chalgrin and Jacques-Germain Soufflot and was an inspector at the Bâtiments du Roi. No buildings can be ascribed to him.

His son Jean-Gustave Taraval (1765-1784) was a painter who trained with his uncle Hugues Taraval and with Nicolas-Guy Brenet. His only known surviving work is the Return of the Prodigal Son (Soissons, Musée Municipal), with which he won the 1782 Prix de Rome competition. He died young while a pensionnaire at the Académie de France in Rome.

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