French author, poet, art critic and theatrical reviewer. Born 1811, died 1872.
Gautier began as a Romantic, with Poésies (1830), and was instrumental in bringing Romanticism to the French stage (with Victor Hugo's Hernani, that same year).
However, during the 1830s, Gautier moved away from Romanticism, contributing to the formation of the concept l'art pour l'art ("Art for Art's sake") with his prefaces to the poetic anthology Albertus (1832) and the novel Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835). In these, he argued for the independence of art from the strictures of bourgeois morality and societal benefit.
In Mademoiselle de Maupin and in his many fantastic tales - from La Morte amoureuse (1836) to Spirite (1865) - Gautier explored the theme of love, in the process creating one of the 19th century's most significant literary oeuvres on the subject of the subconscious.
At the same time, Gautier moved toward an aesthetic odeal of beauty, an ideal that he gave its ultimate expression in the poem L'Art from the anthology Emaux et camées (1852). With this, Gautier also inspired later poets to adopt a more aesthetic and impersonal style.