The Swiss painter and engraver Sigmund Freudenberger received his first artistic training with Emanuel Handmann in Berne, and studied as a portraitist. He continued his education in Paris, where he became acquainted with François Boucher, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Noël Hallé, Alexander Roslin and Johann Georg Wille.

For several years he travelled widely in France and Switzerland, then in 1773 he joined Boucher and Wille’s Deutsche Zeichnungschule (German Drawing School). Working closely with Jacob Schmutzer, he dedicated himself to book engravings, including Scènes d’interieurs et de moeurs (1768–72) and Balthasar Anton Dunker’s Bethasaron Français (1778–80).

In 1776 he married Marianne Mesmer and founded a private art school in Berne. In 1785 he published the Cahier des différents habillements de la ville de Berne, a collection of sketches dedicated to Bernese clothing. He went on to be a successful portraitist and genre painter in oil and pastel, in the style of Nicolas Lancret and Jean-Antoine Watteau. What was less known is that he also produced several albums and engravings on erotic subjects.

Two erotic miniatures from a hand-painted album, c.1790


Example illustration