Auguste Desperet (1804-1865)

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Auguste Desperet (1804-1865)

Auguste Desperet or Desperret (Lyon, 1804 – Paris, 1865), was a French wood engraver, draftsman, lithographer and art collector.

He arrived very early in Paris where he became a student of Guillaume Lethière (1760-1832). From 1831 to 1840, he contributed to the newspapers La Caricature and Charivari, satirical illustrated newspapers directed by Charles Philipon (1800-1862), also from Lyon, as well as the Magasin Pittoresque. He joined the caricaturist and illustrator Jean-Jacques Grandville (1803-1847), whose drawings he engraved on wood. After Grandville’s death, he was employed at the Chalcographie du Louvre.

Desperet is a great collector. As a teenager, he already started, with his modest resources, his collection of drawings. He buys the French Watteau, Lancret, Boucher, while nobody looks at them. The Italians he liked very much were often too expensive for him. He was also fascinated by the drawings of the artists of his time and assembled a large collection of their works, which was dispersed after him. Of a melancholic nature, his collection, whose sale he dreaded, was his only consolation. His paintings were sold on January 15, 1866.

Raoul Deberdt presents it thus: “Desperet, with a naturally cold pencil, was galvanized by the ardent Philipon, who succeeded in making him produce some bitter and curious satirical drawings; in particular the famous Course à l’abîme (Cf. La caricature et l’humour français au 19ème siècle, Paris, librairie Larousse, 1896).” This lithograph appeared in the number 136 of the newspaper La Caricature of June 13, 1833, plate number 282, under the title “Poor blind people. It showed the ministers of Louis Philippe accompanying their sovereign into the abyss.

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