1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dumont, François

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DUMONT, FRANÇOIS (1751-1831), French miniature painter, was born at Lunéville (Meurthe), and was left an orphan when quite young, with five brothers and sisters to support. He was for a while a student under Jean Girardet, and then, on the advice of a Lunéville Academician, Madame Coster, set up a studio for himself. In 1784 he journeyed to Rome, returning after four years’ careful study, and in 1788 was accepted as an Academician and granted an apartment in the Louvre. He married the daughter of Antoine Vestier, the miniature painter, and had two sons, Aristide and Bias, both of whom became painters. He was one of the three greatest miniature painters of France, painting portraits of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, Louis XVIII. and Charles X., and of almost all the important persons of his day. His own portrait was engraved both by Audouin and by Tardieu. He resided the greater part of his life in Paris, and there he died. A younger brother, known as Tony Dumont, was also a miniature painter, a pupil of his brother, a frequent exhibitor and the recipient of a medal from the Academy in 1810. Each artist signed with the surname only, and there is some controversy concerning the attribution to each artist of his own work. Tony was an expert violinist and delighted in painting portraits of persons who were playing upon the violin. Many of Dumont’s finest paintings came into the collection of Mr J. Pierpont Morgan, but others are in the Louvre, presented by the heir of Bias Dumont. The work of both painters is distinguished by breadth, precision and a charming scheme of colouring, and the unfinished works of the elder brother are amongst some of the most beautiful miniatures ever produced.

See The History of Portrait Miniatures, by G. C. Williamson (London, 1904); also the privately printed Catalogue of the Collection of Miniatures of Mr J. Pierpont Morgan, vol. iv.

(G. C. W.)