Lille 1636 - 1699 London
Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer is famed for his decorative flowerpieces, found in many country houses in France and England. Born in Lille in 1636, Monnoyer first studied history painting in Antwerp, before arriving in Paris before 1650, where he worked on the Hôtel Lambert. Monnoyer rapidly established a reputation as a specialist in floral and still life decoration. In 1665 he was accepted as a member of the Academy; in 1673 he first exhibited flower still lifes at the Salon. He rose to be Conseiller of the Academy in 1679.
Monnoyer collaborated with Charles Le Brun, Louis XIV’s Court painter, on floral and still life decorations for the Grand Trianon at Versailles and the royal châteaux at Meudon and Marly. He also designed floral motifs and borders for the Gobelins and Beauvais tapestry works.
In 1690 Monnoyer went to England for a few months at the invitation of Ralph Montagu, later Duke of Montagu, English Ambassador to Louis XIV. He settled in England permanently in 1692, working at Boughton, Montagu House (now the site of the British Museum), Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court. His patrons included Queen Mary, the Duke of St Albans and the Earl of Carlisle, for whom he worked at Burlington House. A number of engravings were made after Monnoyer’s paintings, extending his reputation beyond the circle of his aristocratic patrons. Monnoyer collaborated with other artists, providing floral elements in the portraits of Godfrey Kneller. At Burlington House, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court, Monnoyer was assisted by his son Antoine Monnoyer (1677-1647), who with great ability continued the family tradition of flower painting into the eighteenth century.
During his prolific career, Monnoyer executed easel paintings and designs for overdoors and overmantels; his works show an awareness of Flemish and Italian baroque flower paintings, imbued with a French delicacy and an all-pervasive freshness of vision.
The work of Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer is represented at Versailles; Hampton Court; the Hermitage, St Petersburg; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Louvre, Paris; the Musée Fabre, Montpellier and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen.