JEAN GONICHON (FRENCH, FL. 1775-1795), GROUP OF BIRDS ON ROSE BRANCH

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Jean Gonichon (French, FL. 1775-1795)
Group of Birds on Rose Branch
Watercolor and gouache on vellum
Manuscript numbers upper right
Vellum size: 15 7/8 x 11 1/4 in
Frame size: 18 3/4 x 14

French artist Jean Gonichon was the Lyon Academy of Design director and worked as a designer in the booming silk business.

Apprenticed by his father to Pierre François Simon maître fabricant in November 1751, he registered as a journeyman in March 1757. He may well have attended the new école de dessin, which opened the year he completed his apprenticeship. Gonichon was likely a protégé of one of its founders, the abbé Lacroix on whose territory Gonichon’s father worked as a gardener. He was one of the teachers working for the école de dessin in its second phase by 1781, his specialty being flowers and ornament. He gave classes in his home in the quai St Clair rather than at the Hôtel de Ville three afternoons (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) a week from 2.00 till 5.00 in winter and 4.00 till 7.00 in summer. In the Indicateur alphabétique of 1788, he was calling himself dessinateur et peintre pour la fleur et l’ornement; professeur de l’académie de dessin in Lyon in 1791; two years later, at the time of his death, he was called a painter. He seems to have prospered, for he was able to acquire two houses, terraces, and a garden for 15,000 livres in February 1791 from the director of Lyon’s district. When he resigned from his post in 1793, the position remained unfilled until 1807, when the renowned Jacques Barraband replaced him.