Birth: Sept.5th, 1704
Death: Feb. 17th, 1788
Born in northern France, La Tour was apprenticed at age 15 to a local painter but moved to Paris at age nineteen. In his mid-20’s he was encouraged to take up pastels which is medium for which he is known and in 1737 he exhibited both a portrait of another artist’s wife and a portrait of himself entitled Self-Portrait, Laughing the the Salon in Paris. These works were the only pastels exhibited at the Salon and La Tour subsequently developed new approaches for pastel work to expand the influence and use of the medium. Through his career, he exhibited 150 portrait at the Salon and his sitters included Louis XV, Marquise de Pompadour, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and painter Joseph Vernet. La Tour, who became quite wealthy through his work, founded a drawing school in his hometown and gave generously to the poor and disabled as well as to ageing artists and artisans. He was also a benefactor and adviser to at least two other art schools. Plagued by mental health issues late in life, La Tour moved back to his hometown Saint-Quentin, where he died at age 83.
Some of his notable works include: Portrait of Gabriel Bernard de Rieux (1739-1741), La Marquise de Pompadour (1749-1755) and Self-portrait with Lace Jabot pictured below and used as the header image.
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