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Paul Gavarni (aka Paul (Sulpice-Guillaume Chevalier) Gavarni)

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Paul Gavarni
19th century
(Paris, 1804 - 1866, Paris)

More interested in mechanics than painting, Sulpice Guillaume Chevalier, who after 1829 became known as Gavarni, was apprenticed at age thirteen to a manufacturer of optical and marine instruments and the following year entered the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, where he studied machine design with César Nicolas Leblanc. What began as a work trip to design a bridge in Bordeaux in 1824 became an extended vacation in the Pyrenees and Spain, where the young draftsman sketched regional costumes and landscapes. Upon his return to Paris in June 1828, Gavarni became friends with the struggling writer, Honoré de Balzac, and began producing fashion plates for La Mode and illustrations for the art and literary magazine L'Artiste, founded in 1831. During the July Monarchy, Gavarni circulated in a cosmopolitan world of writers, dramatists, and entertainers, and made the streets, theatres, and restaurants that he frequented the subjects of his prints.

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