Jean-Étienne Liotard was born on 22 December 1702 in Geneva. With his color chalk painting and portraits, the son of a jeweler shaped the image of the rococo and is one of the most important painters of the second half of the 18th century.
The first training as a miniature painter completed Liotard in Geneva in the studio of Daniel Gardelle , In 1923 he moved to Paris and was the apprentice to the painters Jean-Baptiste Massé and François Lemoyne. He was then recorded in the studio of Marquis Puysieux in Naples.
In 1735 Liotard worked in Rome, where he painted portraits of Pope Clement XII and several cardinals. He traveled to Vienna, London, Venice, London, Amsterdam, Lyon, Frankfurt, where he received numerous commissions for portraits. Among his clients were emperors, princesses, aristocrats and representatives from the highest circles. He was allowed to portray Emperor Franz Stephan of Lorraine, Maria Theresa and their children, Prince and Princess of Wales, King Louis XV and many others. He quickly got a good reputation as a portraitist. Liotard had a great eye for details and subtleties, worked subtly and in detail. Virtuously, he displayed all the features and peculiarities of each of his models.
Liotard was inspired by the oriental ambience during his travels through Italy, Greece and the Ottoman Empire. At that time, representations of people in Turkish costumes and domestic scenes were created. During this period he got the nickname "the Turkish painter". The lifestyle and traditions impressed him so much that he extended his stay. So the painter stayed for five years in Constantinople, today's Istanbul.
His most famous works is "La chocolatière". His pastel drawings with chalks were especially prized at the Viennese and the French court. This style was next to the engravings, his glass and enamel painting hallmark of the artistic oeuvre of Liotard. Through realistic textures, the Swiss manages to create pure and lifelike surfaces. The faces radiate liveliness and freshness. His technique was the combination of intense color (then blue was in vogue) and the slight blurring.
Jean-Étienne Liotard lived and worked in the largest European cities. After his long wandering life, in 1758 he settled for his last 30 years of life but in his hometown Geneva. He still traveled a lot, but the center then remained in the Swiss capital, where he died in 1789, at the age of 86 years. In his last years, the artist preferred to paint still lifes and landscapes.
Liotard also left many self-portraits showing him as an extravagant, oriental-dressed man with a long beard. These eye-catching clothes were the result of his travels to the Orient.