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 Jean Jacques Vioget  (1799 - 1855)

About: Jean Jacques Vioget


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Lived/Active: California / Switzerland      Known for: amateur town-harbor views

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Combremont le Petit, Switzerland on June 14, 1799. Vioget ran away from home at age 15 and joined Napoleon's fife and drum corps. He was later apprenticed to a French naval engineer. During the early 1830s he was captain of a trading bark called the Delmira which plied the coast of Peru and Ecuador. Upon reaching San Francisco Bay in 1837, he secured the right to trade from the Mexican comandante. Vioget made a survey of Yerba Buena (San Francisco) in 1839 which included laying out the streets and creating the Plaza (Portsmouth Square) out of a potato patch. Sutter also engaged him to survey and make maps of New Helvetia (Sutter's Fort). For awhile Vioget kept a hotel in Yerba Buena as well as a saloon-billiard hall. Having amassed a sizable fortune, he married the daughter of one of the local dons. In 1843 he moved to a land grant near San Jose, CA where he remained until his death on Oct. 26, 1855. His watercolor of Yerba Buena in 1837 was reproduced by Britton & Rey in 1867. In: Wells Fargo Museum (SF); Society of Calif. Pioneers.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
California Pictorial (Van Nostrand & Coulter); California State Library (Sacramento); SF Examiner, 9-6-1896; California on Stone (Peters); New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America (Groce, George C. and David H. Wallace); First 100 Years of Painting in California (J. Van Nostrand); Sunset, Sept. 1915.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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