Jean Desfossés was a native of Nicolet (1787). Although he was baptized Jean Baptiste, he seems not to have used his second given name. He settled in Trois-Rivières around 1809 and became a prosperous merchant there. His older brother, Pierre, lived nearby and was also a merchant.

Active within the militia, especially as of 1812, Jean Desfossés was a sergeant, an instructor, then a lieutenant. He was later appointed captain, then major and lieutenant-colonel.

In November 1833, his business, like several others, suffered heavy losses due to a fire that reached approximately fifteen buildings.

From 1833 to 1834, he was the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Trois-Rivières. On the political level, Desfossés was a moderate spirit. He did not participate in the unrest of 1837-1838.

He had two wives: the first was Caroline Miller, and the second was Marie Angèle Ménéclier de Morochon (or Morochond). They had a son, Jean Arthur, and two daughters, Lucie and Angélique. Marie Angèle died in May 1884 at the age of 96.

Jean Desfossés died in April 1854. Dignitaries and friends were present at his funeral, such as Pierre Benjamin Dumoulin, c.r., a lawyer; Denis Genest-Labarre, a notary; Basile Doucet, the captain of the militia; Georges Stanislas Badeaux, a physician; and John Whiteford and Étienne Tapin, bourgeois.

This miniature has remained in the family for over 180 years. Jean Desfossés was the ancestor of the donor of this work.

As for Gerome Fassio, he was an artist of Italian origin who came to America in the late 1820s. He first passed through New York, where he met Moses Hart, a successful businessman from Trois-Rivières. Fassio settled in Montreal in June 1834. He made a name for himself as a portrait and miniature painter in L’Ami du peuple, de l’ordre et des lois for several months. He then passed through Trois-Rivières in 1835 and painted this portrait of Jean Desfossés, among other works. After that, he took a trip to Quebec City, then returned to Montreal in August 1836 and resumed his advertisements in the same newspaper while inviting young people to drawing and miniature art classes, as he had done in Quebec City.

Donation from Claude Bruneau
Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection
2016 48 D