Jacques Henri E. De Seve1742 -
Born: Unknown, flourished: 1742-1788
Very little is known about the personal life of Jacques Henri E. DeSeve, though he is, perhaps, one of the most influential natural history artists of all time. Commissioned by the famous Georges-Louis Leclerec, Comte de Buffon to be the principal illustrator of his ambitious and monumental Natural History (or, in the original French, Histoire Naturelle, générale et particuliere, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi), during the 1740s, DeSeve created hundreds of animal images.
DeSeve was more artist than naturalist, however, and many of his creatures now seem fantastical or a bit incorrect in their portrayal. An interesting feature of his designs is his inclusion of wildlife habitats; DeSeve did not merely depict animals, but rather placed his creatures in appropriate environmental scenes. His work was widely copied in the engravings of peers for later editions of Buffon's books. The Bison, in the collection of the National Museum of Wildlife Art, represents one such example of an engraving after DeSeve's original design.