October 26, 2011

Jean-Louis Sauce, son of a bootmaker, was born in Paris in 1760 and died there in 1788. At the age of twenty-three he passed the entrance examinations to the Academy and was admitted as a student. Already in the following year he won the hotly contested “first medal”. In that year he also fell in love and subsequently

…lived for three years with a little lace-maker called Genevieve-Rosalie Poirier whom he promised to marry. Having met her on the eve of the wedding, he conducted her to his room on the fifth floor of a house in the rue de Vaugirard. After a sumptuous dinner at which the sculptor Spercius of the rue de Pot-de-fer took part, and doubtlessly excited by brandy, Sauce threw himself on the unfortunate girl, fired two piston shots at her, and pierced her with his sword in spite of her cries and her pleas for mercy. Then he threw himself out of the window and smashed his head on the pavement. The doctor counted no less than six wounds on the body of the victim; but they are not very deep and it is hoped that her life will be saved.
The landlord refuses to take care of the body of the suicide.

Nothing is known of Sauce’s work except that five pen and bistre drawings were sold at auction in 1814 for eight francs; at least two of them are still extant.


— Margot and Rudolf Wittkower, Born Under Saturn