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Johann Wille 18th century hand coloured engraving

Johann Wille 18th century hand coloured engraving

1738 landscape by a famous engraver to European monarchs, Jean Georges Wille.

Johann Georg Wille (Jean Georges Wille) was a notable engraver born in Germany and active in Germany in France. Wille was born in 5 November 1715 in Obermühle am Dünsberg as the eldest of seven children. As a six or seven years old child he started to attend a school. His results were good and the only problem seemed to be drawing his friends portraits in school books. He also made many sketches of the Konigsberg castle destroyed by Swedes during the Thirty Years' War. That's when drawing landscapes became his passion.

His talent was soon recognized and he was sent to Paris. As Wille reported in his memoirs, he and Diderot being at their twenties had rooms at the same house in Paris. They were friends for many years. His early works were mostly portraits. Later he concentrated on historical and genre subjects. His inspirations were paintings of contemporary Dutch and German painters.

Wille became extremely succesful printmaker. He was appreciated and got titles of Engraver to the King of France, Engraver to the Emperor of Germany and Engraver to the King of Denmark. In 1761 he was elected an Academician of the French Academy. Other academies that awarded Wille with membership were these from Augsburg, Berlin, Dresden, Rouen and Vienna.

Failing eyesight started to exert growing influence on his situation. Wille's conections with French royalty wasn't his best asset when the French Revolution came. He lost all of his property and died in poverty in 1808.

"J.G. Will fecit 1738 7"