Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853)

Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine was a French neoclassical architect, interior decorator, designer and a pioneer of Directoire and Empire styles.

Portrait of Pierre François Léonard Fontaine by Joseph Désiré Court.
Portrait of Pierre François Léonard Fontaine by Joseph Désiré Court

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Fran%C3%A7ois-L%C3%A9onard_Fontae#/media/File:P-F-L._Fontaine_par_JD_Court_-_Ch%C3%A2teau_de_Versailles.jpg

Fontaine’s Life

Fontaine was born in Pontoise to a family of architects, on September 10, 1762. At the age of sixteen, he left for L’Isle-Adam, where he assisted architect André in his hydraulic work. Further, André gave him access to his plans and allowed him to copy his projects. In October 1779, he began his studies at the school of Peyre the Younger in Paris. There, he met Charles Percier, which he published several works with before his death in October 1853.

Romancing The Coy Lady - Pierre Francois Leonard Fontaine
Romancing The Coy Lady

Image source: https://www.wikigallery.org/wiki/painting_369772/Pierre-Francois-Leonard-Romancing-The-Coy-Lady

La Halle aux Blés, Exterior View, Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (French, Pontoise 1762–1853 Paris), Watercolor over graphite.
La Halle aux Blés (1762–1853)

Image source:https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/418336?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Pierre-Fran%c3%a7ois-L%c3%a9onard+Fontaine&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=3 

Fontaine’s Major Works

In collaboration with Percier he worked on:

  • Arch of the Carrousel for the restoration of the Palais-Royal
  • The grand staircase of the Louvre
  • Works designed for the union of the Louvre and the Tuileries
Arc du Carrousel (1806–1815) by Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine : A phot of the Arc du Carrousel, which is a large arched structure with three distinct arches and horse statues along the top.
Arc du Carrousel (1806–1815) by Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/adc3cd8c-5a94-4c61-8379-713da76202fe by MarkusMark

Additionally, Fontaine and Percier 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
Drawing of the Throne of Napoleon I by Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine: A grand gold throne with a blue backdrop and a red curtain with gold trim.
Drawing of the Throne of Napoleon I by the duo Percier and Fontaine

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Features of Fontaine’s Style

Together with Percier, Fontaine’s work was a symbol of Directoire and Empire styles. Moreover, the Directoire style was part of the last phase of the Louis XVI style and takes inspiration from ancient Roman objects recovered from the excavations of Pompeii. Conversely, the Empire style was born from Napoleon’s desire for Ancient Egypt and imperial Roman inspired style.

Recueil de Decorations Intérieures, Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (French, Pontoise 1762–1853 Paris), Engravings: A drawing for a design of a room.
Recueil de Decorations Intérieures (1762–1853) by Pierre François Léonard Fontaine

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/349854?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Pierre-Fran%c3%a7ois-L%c3%a9onard+&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=12

Info sources:


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