Auguste Louis Lepere Biography

Auguste Louis Lepere




Auguste Lepère (1849-1918) printmaker, painter, illustrator, ceramist, and teacher, was born to the sculptor François Lepère, in Paris on November 30, 1849. 

He was apprenticed at the age of thirteen to the English wood engraver Joseph Burn Smeeton who established his studio in Paris. Lepère desired foremost to be a painter and submitted his paintings to the annual Salons but he worked for thirty years as an illustrator, earning his livelihood producing woodengraving illustrations for L'Art, Monde illustré, La Revue illustrée and L'Illustration. Technology ended his first career about 1889 as books and magazines adopted the use of the photographic image.

Lepère continued working with the wood matrix, the blocks facile in the hands of this master, producing individual woodengravings. Between 1889 and 1901, his favorite subjects were the urban scenes around contemporary Paris—the bridges, cathedrals and boulevards.  He produced his first color woodcut, Marchands au panier sous une porte rue Mauconseil, in 1889.

It was a natural progression from magazine illustration to book illustration and in this new career Lepère found success as he became known as one of the masters of French book illustration.

Besides wood, he also worked with metal for his etching and limestone for his lithographs. His output was prodigious, producing around one thousand wood engravings and over one hundred etchings