Ferdinand Gaillard, who was born and died in Paris was the greatest portrait engraver of his time, the last in a tradition that perhaps began with Nanteuil. A superb draughtsman, he pursued with equal success both original portraits from life and reproductive work and the translation into black and white engraving of existing paintings and sculptures. The latter work encompassed such diverse sources as a Michelangelo sculpture, a Durer self-portrait and Ingres’ Oedipus and the Sphinx.
His engravings, during the time when such reproductive work was popular and widely collected, brought considerable sums of money. Gaillard won many awards and was elected as a member of the Legion of Honor.