This person is associated with: Baroque, Classicism
French classical painter.
He trained under Charles Le Brun and assisted him on the huge works of the Palace of Versailles. With such a powerful recommendation, he was easily admitted in the Academy in 1673 without having competed for the Prix de Rome, as it was customary of the time; his reception piece was Louis XIV in the Guise of Hercules Slaying Hydra. However, his palette was a bit lighter than his master's and foreshadowed the charming style of the following century, like Antoine Coypel and Louis de Boullogne.
After Le Brun's death, Houasse pursued alone some major decorations of the palace, including the ceiling of the Abundance Drawing-Room, the frescoes and paintings of the Salon of Venus, and some paintings of the Salon of Mars. However, his most important commission was an ensemble telling the Story of Minerva, painted for the Trianon (a small palace included in the Versailles complex). Initially, the ensemble should have comprised 13 canvases, but Houasse was overbooked by his position in the Academy of Rome and therefore never finished it (three paintings were still left to be done at his death). Besides, he never really painted outside Versailles and most of his oeuvre is still located there.
He had an important career, being promoted adjunct professor on 27 July 1675, professor on 27 July 1680, adjunct rector on 13 August 1695, rector on 2 July 1701, and finally director of the French Academy in Rome between 1699 and 1704. He died on 27 May 1710.
He was the master to his son Michel-Ange Houasse and Pierre-Jacques Cazes.