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Jacques Augustin Catherine Pajou (1766-1828)
Portrait de famille

1798
toile (peinture à l’huile) H. 98 cm ; l. 130 cm (Sans cadre) ; H. 118 cm ; l. 150,8 cm (Avec cadre)
Signé, daté, en bas à gauche : Pajou fils, l'An VI de la Rép.
inv. 375
Legs Paul Marmottan (1932)
Son of the sculptor Augustin Pajou, Jacques Augustin Catherine entered the Académie Royale at the age of eighteen. There he competed for the Prix de Rome but failed four times. In 1792, he joined the French republican army. After his demobilization he co-founded the Commune Générale des Arts and went back to painting. At the Salon of 1798 he exhibited Painting. Familly Portraits [sic], subtitled “A father confers with his wife before giving their daughter books as a prize for her assiduity in study.” The work shows his parents and sister, their features carefully individualized, sitting in a comfortable room that is where the mother does her sewing and the father his work. This exemplary meeting of individuals steeped in the ideals of the Enlightenment shows that girls, too, have a right to education. A famous illustration of this approach was Germaine Necker, the future Mme de Staël, whose father gave her access to knowledge previously reserved for boys.