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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Louis-Simon Boizot

Photo: Paul Macapia

Louis-Simon Boizot

French, 1743 - 1809

Louis-Simon Boizot

The sculptor Louis-Simon Boizot was born on October 9, 1743 in Paris. He was the son of a designer at the Gobelins, and received his early arts education from the sculptor René-Michel Slodtz. Boizot went on to study at the Académie Royale, a course of study that culminated in his winning of the Prix de Rome in 1762. He then studied at the École Royale des Élèves Protégés and at the Académie de France in Rome from 1765 to 1770.

Following Boizot’s return to Paris, in 1771 he was accepted by the Parisian Académie, though he would not be received as a full member of the Académie until 1778. He would be a regular exhibitor at the Académie’s Salons until 1800. In 1773, Boizot received the illustrious appointment as the artistic director of the Sèvres Porcelain Factory, the French, government-sponsored porcelain factory favored by aristocrats and collectors throughout Europe.

Boizot produced 150 models for sculptures during his time at Sèvres, the subjects of which included mythological figures, portraits, including the official bust portraits of Louis XIV and Marie-Antoinette, decorative sculptures, and tableware. Boizot designed a number of sculptures executed for European royal families, including a 1776-1779 set of figures for Catherine the Great allegorizing the queen’s patronage of the arts and sciences.

In 1782, Boizot designed a toilet set presented by Marie-Antoinette to the Comtesse du Nord, the traveling pseudonym of Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Paul I and future Empress of Russia. Maxime de La Rocheterie, author of an 1893 account of Marie-Antoinette’s life, recorded an anecdote concerning this toilet set in which the Comtesse du Nord, upon first seeing Boizot’s design, assumed that it was meant for the Queen of France, on account of its elegance, only to find that the set was inscribed with the coat of arms of the Comtesse.

Boizot also received 2,400 livres for a pair of two-meter high hard-paste porcelain vases commissioned by Louis XVI, which were created between 1783 and 1784. One of these vases is now in the Louvre, the other is now located in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy. Another of Boizot’s vases, his 1785 Medici Vase decorated with low-relief mythological scenes, is also currently housed in the Louvre.

Boizot’s popularity among European royals is also evidenced by the purchase in 1788 of a table featuring hard-paste porcelain plaques designed by Boizot by the King of Spain for 13,200 livres. The table, for which Boizot created a mythological theme centering on the figure of Telemachus, currently resides in the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain.

Unsurprisingly, Boizot was awarded the title sculpteur du roi by Louis XVI. However, Boizot supported the 1789 French revolution, during which he advocated for the preservation of historic landmarks and served on the Commission des Monuments. During the final decade of the eighteenth century, Boizot continued to receive public commissions for public monuments and small-scale sculptures.

In 1800, Boizot retired from his position at Sèvres, but continued to receive official commissions until his death. Boizot’s style during the Consulate and Empire periods of the early nineteenth century adapted to accommodate the fashion for neoclassical design. Boizot died on March 10, 1809 in Paris.

  • ceramics
  • French
  • ceramics

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