Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853)

Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine was a neoclassical French architect, interior decorator and designer. He was a pillar of Directoire style and Empire style.

Portrait of Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, Joseph-Désiré Court

image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Fran%C3%A7ois-L%C3%A9onard_Fontaine#/media/File:P-F-L._Fontaine_par_JD_Court_-_Ch%C3%A2teau_de_Versailles.jpg

About his life

Fontain was born at Pontoise on the 10th of September 1762. He came of a family several of whose members had distinguished themselves as architects. At the age of sixteen he was sent to L’Isle-Adam to assist in hydraulic works undertaken by the architect Andre. To facilitate his improvement Andre allowed him to have access to his plans and to copy his designs. In October 1779 he was sent to Paris to study in the school of Peyre the younger, and there began his acquaintance with Charles Percier, which ripened into a life-long friendship. With Percier he published several works. He died in Paris on the 10th of October 1853.

Portrait of Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, Julien Léopold Boilly, 1805

image source: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Fran%C3%A7ois-L%C3%A9onard_Fontaine#/media/File:Pierre-Fran%C3%A7ois-L%C3%A9onard_Fontaine.jpg

What were his major works?

In conjunction with Percier (till his death) he was employed on the arch of the Carrousel, the restoration of the Palais-Royal, the grand staircase of the Louvre, and the works projected for the union of the Louvre and the Tuileries.

Arc du Carrousel, Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine,, 1806–15

image source: https://media1.britannica.com/eb-media/14/123414-004-8C376D86.jpg

With Percier he published the following works- Palais, maisons, et autres edifices de Rome moderne (1802); Descriptions de ceremonies et de fetes (1807 and 1810); Recueil de decorations interieures (1812); Choix des plus celebres maisons de plaisance de Rome et des environs (1809-1813); Residences des souverains, Parallele (1833). L’histoire du Palais-Royal was published by Fontaine alone. Following Charles Percier’s death in 1838, Fontaine designed a tomb in their characteristic style in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.

info source: http://www.theodora.com/encyclopedia/f/pierre_francois_leonard_fontaine.html

info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Fran%C3%A7ois-L%C3%A9onard_Fontaine

Drawing of the Throne of Napoleon I in Tuileries Palace, Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine

image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Percier_et_Fontaine_001.jpg

How can we identify his style?

With Percier, Fontaine was a symbol of Directoire style and Empire styleThe Directoire style was the last phase of the Louis XVI style and it was based mostly on ancient Roman objects recovered from excavations at Pompeii. The Empire style was encouraged by Napoleon’s desire for a style inspired by the grandeur of ancient Egypt and imperial Rome.

info source: https://www.britannica.com/art/Empire-style

info source: https://www.britannica.com/art/Directoire-style

Canopy bed, Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine. Benjamin Gotthold, watercolor

image source: http://theredlist.com/wiki-2-18-392-891-view-19th-century-profile-3-french-empire-1804-1815.html

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