A painter, talented drawer and a brilliant and original engraver during the reign of Louis XV, Gabriel de Saint Aubin is today known above all for his lively chronicle of Parisian life in the 18th century.

As a chronicler of the Paris des Lumières, he made quick sketches of everything he saw including monuments, collections, cafes, trendy shows and performances, ceremonies, various festivals and scenes of working class life.

The artist was also very interested in the artwork market, as demonstrated by these exhibitions and auction catalogues annotated with small sketches in the margins. He liked both the old masters and contemporary work, and did not limit himself to painting, but also sketched numerous Objets d’Art and sculptures belonging to major collectors such as Crozat and Gaignat.

These drawings made quickly with a pencil or a pen are without doubt the most original part of Saint-Aubin’s work. Demonstrating the artist’s frenetic observation and sensitivity of movement, they remain today a valuable testimony of the history of French 18th century collections.

G. R.

Consult all the sales catalogues illustrated by Gabriel de Saint-Aubin in the Digital Library

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

The online catalogue of the Petit Palais collections includes around 35,000 notes and is added to regularly. Some notes have minimal information; others are more detailed. They are illustrated or they will be shortly.

Access the catalogue of the Petit Palais collections
Autre base documentaire

Extern databases

Discover a selection of databases online presenting works from the Petit Palais or documents concerning the history of the museum's history.