Achille Devéria

Achille Jacques-Jean-Marie Devéria (born in Paris on 6 February 1800, died in Paris on 23 December 1857.) was a French painter and lithographer of the romantic period, He is known for his portraits of famous writers and artists.

Achille Devéria is the son of a civil employee of the navy. Devéria became a student, He first followed the courses of painting of Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson and then those of Louis Lafitte, draftsman of the king.

In 1822, he began exhibiting at the Paris Salon. At some point, he opened an art school together with his brother Eugène, who was also a painter. Later, he held his Parisian studio in the Rue de l’Ouest.

Achilles exercised his art in various genres. He was commissioned to paint religious pictures and watercolors. He was the first to apply color to lithography, with the help of Motte, who made the prints.

A portrait of Honore de Balzac, a young man (1825), is attributed to him. He painted in his Parisian studio of No. 38 West Street. Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas (father), Prosper Mérimée, Franz Liszt and many other artists and writers came to be immortalized. Alfred de Musset declared his first verses there. His six children will be born there.

By 1830 Devéria had become a successful illustrator and had published many lithographs in the form of notebooks and albums (e.g., his illustrations to Goethe’s Faust, 1828) and romantic novels. He also produced many engravings of libertine contents. He has also painted erotic paintings and engravings.

Devéria’s experience in the art of the vignette and Mezzotint influenced his numerous lithographs, most of which were issued by his father-in-law, Charles-Etienne Motte (1785–1836). Most of his work consisted of “pseudo-historical, pious, sentimental or erotic scenes”. (Wright) Since he rarely depicted tragic or grave themes, he appears less Romantic than many other artists of the time.

His paintings were mainly done using watercolours. The French poet and critic Charles Baudelaire referred to his portrait series as showing “all the morals and aesthetics of the age”.

Devéria was also known for doing portraits of artists and writers, whom he entertained in his Paris studio on Rue de l’Ouest. The list of his sitters includes Alexandre Dumas, Prosper Mérimée, Sir Walter Scott, Jacques-Louis David, Alfred de Musset, Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, Honoré de Balzac, Théodore Géricault, Victor Hugo, Marie Dorval, Alphonse de Lamartine, Alfred de Vigny, Jane Stirling, and Franz Liszt.

During the Salon of 1846, his work was noticed by critics. Charles Baudelaire writes:
“This is a fine name, a noble and true artist in our opinion.” ”

In 1849 Devéria was appointed director of the Bibliothèque Nationale’s department of engravings and assistant curator of the Louvre’s Egyptian department. In the following years, he taught drawing and lithography to his son, Théodule Devéria, and both worked on a family portrait album from 1853 until his death. They applied ink wash to several of the portraits in the album, possibly in preparation for printing lithographs from the photographs. The album photographs by Théodule Devéria are dated 1854.

Devéria spent his last days traveling in Egypt, making drawings and transcribing texts. He died in 1857.

Works by Devéria are in the Louvre Museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Norton Simon Museum, and the Université de Liège collections.

Works:
Honoré de Balzac, c. 1820
“Woman performing cunnilingus on another woman
A libertine watercolor
“Small and innocent games”
“Lying nude with a jug”