Jacottet, Jean (aka. Louis-Julien) (attr.) – Album with 41 pencil drawings. (France/Switzerland), c. 1850-1860.

Half leather binding, c. 50 x 60 cm. 49 leaves. With 41 original drawings.

The present album of drawings attributed to Jean-Louis Jacottet contains 41 drawings, spread on 24 leaves. They are of various sizes, ranging from c. 20 x 15 cm (12 drawings); to c. 32 x 20 cm (17 drawings), and the larger ones that go up to c. 45 x 37 cm (12 drawings). They are all pencil drawings, often heightened with white. The subjects revolve around rural landscapes, showing trees, old village houses, an aqueduct, rivers, bridges, fountains, or larger mansions. Only one of the drawings (dated 8 august 1858) is entitled by the author; the small drawing depicts a cottage house in JouéduPlain in France, „Chaumiere du Menil Martel“. We were also able to identify the setting of one of the larger drawings, namely Château de Valère in Sion, Switzerland. 

The similarities between these drawings and Jacottet’s known drawings and lithographs are striking, both in terms of the technique, the framing, but most of all in the choice of subjects, and predilection for landscapes. The technique and pencil strokes are very similar to Jacottet’s drawings and lithographs from the series Cours de Paysages or Souvenirs des Pyrénées

These drawings were probably produced around 1850-1860 and were most likely meant either for one of Jacottet’s projects of teaching landscape painting or as preparatory drawings for his lithographs. 

Jean-Louis Jacottet (1806, Enchallens – 1880, Paris) was a Swiss-born landscape painter and lithographer. He moved to Paris early in his career, where he studied the art of painting. After becoming a French citizen, he took part in the Salon de Paris in 1827 and 1839, as well in various other international exhibitions. He was part of the Exposition Universelle in 1855. His work is kept in 12 volumes in the National Library of France, in the department Cabinet des Estampes, in Paris. 

Among his works as both a landscape painter and a lithographer, are views of Montmartre, Lyon, Nantes Isere, as well as of the Pyrenees, the city of Baden-Baden (1840), Switzerland, Italy, North America and multiple works on Paris. Out of the numerous series that he illustrated, noteworthy are: „Voyage pittor. Etc. dans l’anc. France“ (1820); „Ittinéraire pittor. du fleuve Hudson et des parties latérales de l’Amérique du Nord“ (1828/29); „Voyage pittoresque en Bretagne“; „Promenade dans Paris et ses environs“ (1838/43); „Les Bords du Rhin“ (1831).

He has been known for devoting great attention to detail in the rendering of landscapes, as well as less attention to the figures sometimes present in his various views, which were often commissioned to other artists (as was the case with the series of views of Baden-Baden, where Adolphe Bayot was responsible for depicting the figures in Jacottet’s landscape drawings).

Jacottet was author of various works related to the teaching of landscape drawing, such as: Fragments de PaysagesCours de PaysageCours progressif de PaysageLe Wattelet, ou principes et études de paysages élémentaires (Chavant, 1831), Excursions pittoresquesÉtudes de paysages aux deux crayonsLa CampagneSites remarquables y Croquis de vues historiques, among others.

Jacottet’s drawings, extremely rare on the market and most likely scattered in private collections, are very accurate in terms of how detailed the landscapes are depicted, further showing the artist’s formation as a landscape painter. The layout is almost photographic, the images are often very well framed, as well as rich in detail. This is a compelling collection of Jacottet’s original drawings, which shows his artistry and skills in landscape painting. 

Lit: Thieme-Becker (Vollmer), vol. XVIII, p. 292/293 (1924)