(b St Pierre de Vaise, Lyon, 17 May 1754; d
Lyon, 24 Oct 1843).
French painter, teacher and designer. According to his
uncorroborated 19th-century biographer J. Gaubin, he was intended
for holy orders and began studying flower painting as a novice (Rev.
Lyon., i, 1856). Certainly he studied drawing under the sculptor
Antoine-Michel Perrache (1726–79) and worked for Lyon’s silk
industry as a textile designer, visiting Paris annually, ostensibly
to keep abreast of the latest fashions. He first exhibited at the
Paris Salon of 1791 and settled in Paris in about 1794, probably as
a consequence of the catastrophic siege and destruction of Lyon by
revolutionary forces the previous year. Initially he eked out a
precarious living decorating snuff-boxes and painting miniatures,
supported by friends such as Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, the
poetess, and the miniature painter Jean-Baptiste Augustin, to whom
Berjon dedicated The Gift (1797; Lyon, Mus. B.-A.). He contributed
to seven Paris Salons between 1796 and 1819 and again in 1842, and
he had built up a considerable reputation for his work by the early
19th century. On his return to Lyon in 1810 he succeeded
Jean-François Bony (1760–1825) as professor of flower design at the
Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
Still Life With Flowers, Shells, a Shark's
Head, and Petrifications
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