Pierre-Joseph Redouté (Saint-Hubert 1759-1840 Paris) Roses

Pierre-Joseph Redouté was born in a family of painters. Without any formal education, he joined his elder brother Antoine Ferdinand in Paris where he met Charles Louis L'Héritier de Brutelle (1746-1800) and René Desfontaines (1750-1833) who directed hem towards botanical illustrations. L'Héritier taught him how to dissect flowers and formed the rapidly develloping basis for Redouté's draughtmanship. He also introduced him to the court of Versailles, after which Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) became his patron and he received the title Draughtsman and Painter to the Queens's Cabinet.

The Parisian dealer Cheveau introduced Redouté to Gerard van Spaendonck (1746-1822) who taught hem the handling of watercolour.

Pierre-Joseph Redouté (The Raphael of Flowers) acclaimed worldwide fame as botanical illustrator and artist when he produced numerous works depicting over 250 varieties of roses of the gardens for Château de Malmaison, the manor house close to the centre of Paris, which was bought by Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais (1763-1814), wife of Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821) in 1799. She would become Pierre-Joseph's patron from 1798. The estate was in poor condition when Joséphine purchased it and it's renovation cost a fortune as she endeavored to transform the estate into the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe. Aside of exotic birds, animals (kangaroos, zebras, black swans, ostriches, antilopes and even a seal), plants, a heated orangery and greenhouse with over 200 plants that never grew before in France, Malmaison became famous for it's rose garden. She ordered Redouté to record her roses and lilies after which the drawings were reproduced in prints and books, of which Napoléon would give copies to friends and diplomats.

After Empress Josephine's death he was appointed Master of Draughtmanship at the National Museum of Natural History in 1822 where he gave drawings lessons to aristocrats and royals ans was awarded Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1825.


[1] Terry van Druten et. al., Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Botanisch tekenaar voor het Franse hof.
Teylers Museum, Haarlem/nai010 Uitgevers, Rotterdam, 2013.

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