March 18, 1741
|Died||November 5, 1819
|Notable work(s)||Louis XVII of France
Countess of Artois
Alexander Kucharsky (18 March 1741 – 5 November 1819) also Alexandre Kucharsky, was a Polish portrait painter who spent his adult life in France. He himself used the spelling Kucharsky, but Kucharski is also often used. In the past, in France, the name has been given as Couaski.
Kucharsky was born in Warsaw. As a boy, he was a page to Stanisław August Poniatowski, the last king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He trained first as an artist in Warsaw, in the studio of Marcello Bacciarelli. With a bursary from King Stanisław, he then travelled to Paris to work under Joseph-Marie Vien and Carle van Loo at the Académie Royale, from 1760 to 1769.
The king of Poland wanted Kucharsky to train as a historical painter, but instead he became a portrait artist, thus losing the king's patronage. From 1776 to 1778, Kucharsky was in the service of the Princes de Condé.
Kucharsky liked to paint half-length portraits in pastels or in oils, but he also worked in gouache and sometimes painted miniatures. His clients were mostly from the French and Polish aristocracy. The latter had increased in numbers in France as a result of the alliance between King Louis XV and Marie Leczinska.
After the departure from the French court of Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun in 1789, Kucharsky became painter to Queen Marie-Antoinette. As well as painting her portrait and the royal children, he also painted Marie-Louise, princesse de Lamballe, the comte d'Artois, later King Charles X, the countess of Artois, and Catherine the Great of Russia.
Kucharsky's best-known work today includes his portraits of the doomed French royal family, especially the future King Louis XVII. The final portrait, painted in 1793, of Marie Antoinette, was sold at auction by Piasa on May 21, 2003, and is attributed to Kucharsky.
When signing his work, the artist used the spelling "Kucharsky".
Throughout the years of the French Revolution, Kucharsky's allegiance remained with the ancien régime. In retirement he lived near Paris at Sainte-Périne, living on a pension granted by Louis XVIII of France. He died in Paris.
Gallery of work
- Genealogical Notes and Anecdotes: L'oriflamme de St.-Denis at gennotes.150m.com (accessed 29 December 2007)
- See signature at Marie Antoinette, miniature by Kucharsky, 1790
- Le peintre KUCHARSKY at museelouisxvii.com (accessed 28 December 2007)
- Portrait de Marie-Antoinette au temple at artnet.com (accessed 30 December 2007)
Media related to Alexander Kucharsky at Wikimedia Commons