The Royal Treatment: JEAN BAPTISTE OUDRY (FRENCH, 1686 -1755)

JEAN BAPTISTE OUDRY (FRENCH, 1686 -1755)


PAINTER-IN-ORDINARY OF THE ROYAL HUNT TO LOUIS XV


Though his father was a painter and art dealer, Jean Baptiste Oudry’s first formal art training came from portrait painter Nicolas de Largillière. By about 1720, the young man concentrated on animals, hunts, and landscapes. He became a member of the Académie de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1719 and a professor there in 1743. From 1726, Oudry had great success designing tapestries. In 1734 he was named director of the Royal Beauvais Tapestry Manufactory, which he reestablished by bringing in artists like François Boucher.


Oudry painted for Marquis de Beringhen, hereditary master of the royal stables, and through this connection, was commissioned to produce the painting that made his reputation, Louis XV hunting a deer in the Forest of Saint-Germain (1730.) The King, who was passionate about the hunt, appointed Oudry Painter-in-Ordinary of the Royal Hunt, in which capacity he produced portraits of dead game, the day’s kill. Oudry was granted a workshop in the Tuileries and an apartment in the Louvre. His splendid compositions earned him the position of director of the Gobelins Manufactory.


Oudry’s talents and work for the court were widely known; he turned down offers to work for the Czar Peter the Great and the King of Denmark, preferring to remain in France, where he maintained a large studio of assistants.


While unsigned, these works are similar in brushstroke, tone, and quality of Oudry watercolor album at Harvard Art Museum, preparatory works for tapestries.