Pierre-Simon-Benjamin Duvivier

Pierre-Simon-Benjamin Duvivier
Born 3 November 1730
Paris, France
Died 10 July 1819(1819-07-10) (aged 88)
Paris, France
Nationality French
Known for Medallist

Pierre-Simon-Benjamin Duvivier (3 November 1730 – 10 July 1819) was a French engraver of coins and medals.

Early years

Portrait by Benjamin of his father, Jean Duvivier, dated the year after his father's death

Pierre-Simon-Benjamin Duvivier was born in Paris on 3 November 1730. He was son of the well-known medallist Jean Duvivier and of his wife, Louise Vignon. His family originated from Liège.[1] His brother was Thomas-Germain-Joseph Duvivier, also a painter and engraver.[2] His sister Jeanne-Louise-Françoise married the engraver Jacques-Nicolas Tardieu and is on record as having made several engravings herself.[3]

Benjamin Duvivier was placed in the Collège Mazarin to study humanities and philosophy, where he met and befriended Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron and Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, the future astronomer. He planned to undertake a voyage of exploration with Anquetil-Duperron, but was forced to cancel it for reasons of health. When his father violently objected to his decision to follow a career in art, he left home and moved in with his sister and brother-in-law, the Academician Tardieu.[4] His mother died in 1752. On 25 September 1756 he won a medal from the Academy for a nature scene.[5]


Benjamin Duvivier's father died on 30 April 1761. Benjamin applied to the king to retain the position that his father had occupied in the Louvre Galleries, and on 7 June 1762 this was granted to him, and he thus assumed his father's job as medallist to the King.[5] Benjamin Duvivier probably had more talent than his father.[6] On 24 November 1764 he was accepted as a Member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. On 13 February 1765 he obtained a brevet royal that authorized him to spend a year in Italy.[7] On 21 August 1774 he obtained the position of general engraver of coins, replacing Joseph-Charles Roëttiers.[8]

Duvivier drew portraits of several members of the royal family during the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI.[9] Duvivier exhibited at the Salons of 1769, 1773, 1775, 1777, 1779, 1781, 1783, 1785, 1793 and 1798.[7] At the Salon of 1773, visitors could compare Duvivier's medal in honor of Frederick III, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg with a portrait bust of the King by his friend Jean-Antoine Houdon.[10] In 1788 he was listed as a foreign associate of the Academy of Science and Arts that Alexandre-Marie Quesnay de Beaurepaire had founded in Richmond, Virginia. He made medals of George Washington and, in 1791, of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.[9]

Duvivier taught his brother-in-law Pierre-Joseph Tiolier (1763-1819), who was appointed General Engraver of the mint in 1803.[11] During the French Revolution, on 11 July 1791 Duvivier's title and position were abolished and he was replaced by his former assistant Augustin Dupré.[9] In 1806 Duvivier was appointed to the engraving section of the Beaux-Arts school at the Institut de France.[12] He died in Paris on 10 July 1819. His son may have been the painter Français Duvivier, who opened an academy of drawing and painting in Philadelphia in 1796.[13]




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