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Message par La nuit, la neige le Dim 3 Fév - 16:44

Nous avions annoncé la vente aux enchères de ce portrait dans notre sujet consacré à :

Arrow L'ambassade de Tippoo Sahib (Tipû Sâhib) à Versailles

Le portrait de Muhammad Dervish Khan, par Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, s'est envolé ce 30 janvier pour 7,2 millions de dollars.

Record mondial pour l'artiste, et record mondial pour une oeuvre peinte par une femme (période pré-moderne).  Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 309649167


Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun
PORTRAIT OF MUHAMMAD DERVISH KHAN, FULL-LENGTH, HOLDING HIS SWORD IN A LANDSCAPE

Signed and dated lower right: L. Vigée Le Brun / 1788
oil on canvas / 88 3/4  by 55 1/2  in.; 225.5 by 136 cm.
Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Ambass10
Photo : Sotheby's

Si le sujet vous intéresse, je vous recommande la lecture de la note au catalogue publiée par Sotheby's (en anglais).
Vous y retrouverez raconté l'histoire de cette ambassade et celle de ce tableau.

Arrow C'est ici : The volatile saga behind Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun portrait of indias ambassadors to France


Extraits de la note au catalogue :

This imposing and potent portrait by Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun depicts Muhammad Dervish Khan, the Indian ambassador sent to France by the powerful Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan.  
Painted in the summer of 1788 and exhibited at the Salon of 1789, when political unrest had begun to boil in France, the work is an evocative account of France’s fascination with the East as well as Vigée’s resourcefulness in acquiring this unique commission.  

It is obvious that both Dervish Khan and Vigée would have found each other equally exotic and endlessly fascinating: one, a powerful Indian man parading around Paris in elegant muslin and gold-embroidered costumes, the other a woman artist who held such sway that she could get the King of France to request the sitting.  
(...)

As Muslim men, the idea of having themselves represented pictorially, let alone by a female artist, was unheard of.  
Vigée tenacity and resourcefulness in achieving the sitting was a remarkable feat.  After the request came from the King, they agreed to sit for her at their hôtel in Paris.  

Her detailed description of the encounter in her memoirs provides a fascinating look into this awkward clash of cultures.  She is thrown by their sprinkling of rosewater on her hands upon her entering, and later at dinner is shocked when she finds the dining room set for them to sit down on the floor.  
She painted Dervish Khan first, “standing, with his hand on his dagger. He threw himself into such an easy, natural position of his own accord that I did not make him change it.”

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 366n1010
Photo : Sotheby's

When the paintings had finished drying, Vigée sent for the works but was refused; Dervish Khan had hidden his portrait behind the bed.  Eventaille  
As Vigée enthusiastically recalls, she strategically convinced his servant to steal it back for her, only to later hear that Dervish Khan had then planned to murder the servant for this transgression.  
Luckily, an interpreter convinced the ambassador that murdering your valet was not acceptable practice in France, and he falsely claimed that it was the King who wanted the portrait.
affraid
(...)
Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 366n1011
Photo : Sotheby's

The painting, along with that of Dervish Khan’s fellow ambassador Osman Khan, was exhibited at the Salon of 1789, which opened in August despite the disquieting political climate.  Both pictures were displayed prominently, as shown in a drawing of the exhibition by Charles de Wailly.  

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Lpdp_810
Projet rétrospectif pour la présentation des ouvrages de l'Académie au Salon carré du Louvre en 1789.
Charles de Wailly, 1789
Photo : Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris


They were received by the public with immense curiosity and critical acclaim.  By October, however, Vigée had fled Paris in fear of her life after mobs had invaded Versailles.
Given that the painting next appears in the estate sale of her husband, Jean-Baptiste Pierre Le Brun, it can be surmised that she kept the work in her personal collection but left it at home in France when she went to Italy.  Vigée’s portrait of Osman Khan is also included in Le Brun’s auction, though it has since been lost.

* Source et infos complémentaires : Sotheby's - Master Paintings Evening Sale
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Message par Duc d'Ostrogothie le Dim 3 Fév - 19:46

7,2 millions... c'est énorme pour Mme Vigée-Lebrun ! Very Happy

Le portrait de la princesse de Lamballe avait atteint 130 000 euros il y a quelques années (avant l'exposition).

Donc c'est vraiment extraordinaire. De mémoire, je crois qu'il était présenté à l'exposition les "Visiteurs de Versailles" ...
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Message par Gouverneur Morris le Dim 3 Fév - 23:16

Oui ! Et le voici in situ !

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 C2308710

Cliché personnel
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Message par Peschila le Lun 25 Fév - 18:40

Invité a écrit:
Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Izea_i10

Angelica Catalani, 1806
Huile sur toile, 122 x 91.5 cm

Bonjour, je viens de parcourir votre forum avec grand enthousiasme.
J'ai néanmoins une question. J'ai pu remarquer que les jeunes femmes étaient représentées en robe blanche ce qui me fait penser à la pureté de la jeunesse, mais elles ont très souvent également un châle rouge. Pensez vous que cela représente un passage à l'age adulte avec la couleur de la passion ?
Merci pour vos partages de tableaux magnifiques.

Peschila

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Message par Mme de Sabran le Lun 25 Fév - 18:50


Bonsoir, Peschila. Very Happy
Soyez la très bienvenue dans le Forum de Marie-Antoinette ! Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 2523452716

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Message par Mme de Sabran le Lun 25 Fév - 19:00

Est-ce spécialement dans ce sujet que vous avez remarqué ces robes blanches accompagnées d'un voile rouge ?
Je vais le survoler en diagonale pour constater ... et je reviens vers vous. Very Happy

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Message par La nuit, la neige le Lun 25 Fév - 19:20

Bonsoir Peschila, soyez la bienvenue parmi nous... Very Happy

Peschila a écrit:
J'ai néanmoins une question. J'ai pu remarquer que les jeunes femmes étaient représentées en robe blanche ce qui me fait penser à la pureté de la jeunesse, mais elles ont très souvent également un châle rouge. Pensez vous que cela représente un passage à l'age adulte avec la couleur de la passion ?

Vous posez là une question intéressante, à laquelle je ne suis pas capable de vous répondre. Je ne suis pas très doué en symbolique des couleurs picturales.
Peut-être que l'un de nos membres mieux informé pourra le faire ?

Idea Sur ce magnifique portrait, la princesse Golitsyna est peinte avec un châle rouge.
Mais ce n'est plus une jeune fille, et son passage à l'âge adulte n'est pas envisageable. Née en en 1772, elle a vingt-six ans lorsque Madame Le Brun la peint.

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 2016_n10
Maria Grigorievna Viazemskaïa, Princess Golitsyna (1772-1865), seated three-quarter-length
By Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun
Oil on canvas,1798
signed, dated, and inscribed ‘L.E. Vigée / Le Brun / a petersbourg / 1798’ (lower right)
Photo : Christie's


Mais, certes, elle ne porte pas une robe blanche.

Le portrait de Juliane Henriette Ulrike de Saxe-Cobourg-Saalfeld, future Grande duchesse Anna Feodorovna, nous montre une toute jeune.
Née en 1781, elle serait peinte vers 1795-96, et peu après son mariage nous dit Wikipedia.
Pas de robe blanche non plus.

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Anna_f10
La Grande Duchesse Anna Feodorovna (1795-1796), born Princess Juliane von Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Portrait by Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun
Source : Wikipedia
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Message par Mme de Sabran le Lun 25 Fév - 19:30

Il est vrai que Flore, Mme de Staël ou la princesse Youssoupov illustrent tout à fait votre propos. Very Happy
Quant à la représentation symbolique du blanc = la pureté, et du rouge = la passion, j'en suis d'accord .
Mais ce peut être aussi, plus simplement, un choix de couleurs seyantes, flatteuses, très heureusement contrastées afin de frapper le regard, le blanc devient lumière et le rouge chaleur ?

J'espère que nos amis spécialistes de Mme Le Brun ou de la mode vestimentaire sauront vous en dire plus ... Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 1123740815

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Message par Peschila le Lun 25 Fév - 19:53

Bonjour, merci pour vos réponses rapides. Smile
Peut être était-ce finalement la mode de l'époque que de porter un châle rouge.
Il me semble que c'était aussi le cas au début du 19eme siècle avec l’impératrice Joséphine qui lança la mode avec les tissus remmenés des voyages.
Je me posais la question après avoir remarqué plusieurs fois cet accoutrement durant ce topic mais cela n'a pas grande importance.

Peschila

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Message par Peschila le Lun 25 Fév - 20:18

Ce n'est pas une œuvre de Mme Vigée Le Brun mais je vous partage ce tableau en rapport avec ma question que je trouve saisissant, notamment au niveau du détails dans les habits.Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Greuze-milkmaid-18th-c-granger
C'est un tableau de Jean-Baptiste Greuze peint en 1765.

Peschila

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Message par Mme de Sabran le Lun 25 Fév - 20:50

Peschila a écrit: ce tableau en rapport avec ma question que je trouve saisissant.

...   parce que cette femme porte du rouge et du blanc ?  ...  sinon je ne vois pas bien le rapport .  Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 1123740815
Elle ne rappelle pas beaucoup les aristocratiques modèles de Mme Le Brun . C'est une paysanne au visage grave, au regard fatigué.  Son attitude aussi exprime la lassitude, enfin me semble-t-il .

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Message par Marie-Jeanne le Lun 25 Fév - 21:54


Le rouge est omniprésent dans l'œuvre de Madame Vigée-Le Brun, parfois en petite touche et souvent sous forme de ce châle que l'on retrouve dans énormément de ses toiles.

Je n'y vois pas une signification symbolique mais plutôt un choix pictural en lien avec le stylisme des tenues de ses modèles auquel elle attachait beaucoup d'importance de même qu'aux coiffures.

La paysanne de Greuze est étonnante dans cet attitude en effet un peu lasse mais en même temps presque moderne qui pourrait être celle d'une jeune femme dans un magazine d'aujourd'hui. Personnellement j'aime beaucoup.Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 3599491914
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Message par La nuit, la neige le Lun 1 Avr - 21:01

Idea De styles très différents, voici deux portraits qui seront proposés prochainement en ventes aux enchères.
Les notes de présentation de la maison de vente, que je cite en extraits, sont intéressantes... Smile

- Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun (Paris 1755-1842)
A young woman, bust-length, in a white blouse

oil on canvas, oval
16 1/8 x 12 ¾ in. (41 x 32.4 cm.)

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 2019_n14
Photo : Christie's

Lot Essay :

This small bust-length depiction of a blue-eyed, young girl, with her head lifted and turned to her left, might properly qualify as a figure d’expression, a genre that had been popularized in the 1760s by Jean Baptiste Greuze and was later much imitated by his contemporaries and followers.

Among them was the young Élisabeth Louise Vigée, who as a very young girl, in order to improve her skills, had copied “heads” by Greuze.

After her father’s death in 1767, she was accompanied by her mother on visits to the most important art collections of the time, such as those of the Duc d’Orléans, the Duc de Choiseul Praslin, the tax collector Pierre Louis Paul Randon de Boisset and the banker François Michel Harenc de Presle:

As soon as I entered into one of these splendid galleries, I could have been perfectly compared to a bee because I was storing in my mind knowledge and memories useful to my art as I became inebriated with the enjoyment of contemplating the Old Masters. Moreover, to fortify myself I would copy a numbers of paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and several head of young girls by Greuze because these taught me so much about half-tones that are found in delicate complexions.”

(É.L. Vigée Le Brun, Souvenirs, Paris, 1835, I, p. 19 [translated by the author].)

(...)
This painting will be included in the catalogue raisonné of the works of Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun by Joseph Baillio.

* Source et infos complémentaires : Christie's NY - Vente Old Masters (1er mai 2019)

______________________


- Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun (Paris 1755-1842)
Portrait of a young girl, half-length

oil on canvas, circular
22¼ in. (56.5 cm.) diameter

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Captu235
Photo : Christie's

Lot Essay :

This charming portrait of a child is one of the earliest oil paintings that the artist executed, soon after she lost her father, the pastellist Louis Vigée, in May of 1767, when she was barely twelve years old.

I was so prostrate with grief that I waited a great length of time before picking up my chalks again. Doyen [the history painter Gabriel François Doyen] came to see us from time to time, and as he had been my father’s best friend, his visits were greatly consoling for us. It was he who convinced me to take up once again my beloved occupation in which, as a matter of fact, I found the only distraction that could soothe my sorrows and take me away from my sad refections.
It was at this point that I began to paint from nature. I made in succession a number of portraits in pastel and in oils.


(Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Souvenirs, Paris, Librairie Hippolyte Fournier, vol. I, p. 14.)


The painting represents a blue-eyed girl barely out of babyhood seated on a chair upholstered in bluish-green velvet. The child is ftted out like a diminutive adult woman in a pink frock with a low décolletage trimmed with ribbons of the same color. Covering her hair is a bonnet known as a baigneuse (or a dormouse) adorned with pink ribbons, which in turn is covered with a transparent veil tied in a bow at the neck with white strips of satin or silk.

Beside her is a small table bearing a glass or crystal vase of fowers, at the base of which is a white blossom on which a butterfy has alighted. The brushwork is uninhibited and rather rudimentary. The neutral background is painted with a frottis or scumble of gray paint over a very light-colored ground, a technique used by the artist from the outstet of the sitter's career.
This immature technique marks one of the first of the young artist’s oil paintings and her name may be featured on the “Liste des tableaux et des portraits que j’ai fait avant de quitter la France en 1789” under the early years : “De 1768 à 1772”.

A few years later Vigée Le Brun painted two other charming likenesses of children.

One of these is the double-portrait of two children building a House of Cards (the so-called Children of the Baronne d’Esthal, an identity taken from the artist’s frst list of her sitters where the Alsatian name ‘Eichthall’ is misspelled, which was last recorded in the collection of an heir of the Parisian art dealer Paul Cailleux, called ‘Cayeux de Senarpont (1884-1964),’ and his widow, née Judith-Marguerite Serf (1882-1973).

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Captu237
The Children of the Baronne d’Esthal
Oil on canvas, private collection.
Photo : Christie's


A second, the little daughter of the younger of the two brothers of Louis XVI, Charles Philippe de Bourbon, Comte d’Artois, and his Sardinian wife, née Maria Teresa di Savoia, the brown-eyed infant “Mademoiselle” Sophie d’Artois, a signed and dated oval canvas formerly in the Irma N. Straus collection and with the Galerie Maurice Segoura.

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Captu856
Mademoiselle Sophie d’Artois
Oil on canvas, private collection.
Photo : Christie's


This work will be included in the catalogue raisonné of the works of Vigée Le Brun being prepared by Joseph Baillio.
Joseph Baillio

* Source et infos complémentaires : Christie's N.Y - Vente du 30 avril 2019
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Message par La nuit, la neige le Dim 9 Juin - 9:56

Idea Copie "allégée" du message déjà posté, ici :

Arrow Emma Hart - Lady Hamilton

Présenté le 4 juillet 2019, par Christie's Londres :

- Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun (Paris 1755-1842)
Portrait of Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton (1765-1815), as the Cumaen Sibyl

Oil on canvas
54 ½ x 39 in. (138.4 x 99 cm.)
Provenance : (Probably) Timoléon de Cossé-Brissac, duc de Brissac (1775-1848), and by descent in the family until 1919 (...)
Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 2019_c11
Photo : Christie's

Note au catalogue (extraits)

This celebrated portrait of the famed beauty Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton, stands as a testament to the abilities of one of the most talented female artists in the canon.
Known in two versions, the portrait achieved almost immediate renown and remained, for the rest of her life, Vigée Le Brun’s greatest achievement.


She herself felt that the portrait represented the pinnacle of her career, as it, of all her works, most successfully transcended portraiture, entering into the academically hallowed field of history painting. It also remained one of her favourite works.
In her Souvenirs of 1835, Vigée Le Brun recounted the effect the work had on a group of young artists in Parma:

‘Having spoken of their desire to meet me, they continued by saying that they would very much like to see one of my paintings. Here is one I have recently completed, I replied, pointing to the Sibyl. At first their surprise held them silent; I consider this far more flattering than the most fulsome praise; several then said that they had thought the painting the work of one of the masters of their school; one actually threw himself at my feet, his eyes full of tears.
I was even more moved, more delighted with their admiration since the Sibyl had always been one of my favourite works. If any among my readers would accuse me of vanity, I beg them to reflect that an artist works all his life to experience two or three moments such as the one I have just described.’


Earlier depictions of Emma painted by George Romney, such as Emma Hart as Circe (Rothschild Collection, Waddesdon Manor), a sketch for which is at Tate Britain, and Emma Hart as Ariadne (London, National Maritime Museum), though they may have pertained to depict her in classical guise, remained rooted in the British portraiture tradition.
However, Le Brun’s more mature work can only be correctly understood in respect to the Italian trajectory that led her to artists such as Annibale Carracci, and from him to Domenichino, whose own Cumaean Sybil (Rome, Galleria Borghese) has rightly been identified as one of the direct influences on the present composition.

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Image810
The Sibilla Cumana (Cumaean Sibyl)
Domenicho Zampieri (Domenichino)
17th Century
Galleria Borghese
Photo : Wikipedia


As evidenced by the present portrait, Le Brun’s wonderfully rich and controlled brushwork lends itself perfectly to the earlier master’s style, which aimed to surpass the imperfections of nature, developing a superior idea del bello (idea of beauty). Indeed, her composition can be said to have bettered even Emma’s legendary beauty, as the artist herself recounted:

‘I went [to the Hamilton residence] everyday, desiring to progress quickly with the picture.
The duchesse de Fleury and the Princess Joseph de Monaco were present at the third sitting, which was the last. I had wound a scarf round her head in the shape of a turban, one end hanging down in graceful folds. This headdress so beautified her that the ladies declared she looked ravishing ... She went to her apartment to change [for dinner], and when she came back … her new costume, which was a very ordinary one … had so altered her to her disadvantage that the two ladies had all the difficulty in the world in recognising her
’.

As the French Revolution erupted violently in July 1789, Vigée Le Brun fell into a depression and, realising that her close association with Queen Marie-Antoinette placed her in danger, sought refuge in the homes of relatives.
On 6 October, as the mobs were invading Versailles to take the royal family back to Paris, she fled France in one of the first waves of emigration, departing for Rome with her daughter and her governess, in what would be the start of a twelve-year exile. Although personally unsettling, her years in exile were professionally successful and highly productive as she travelled through Italy, Austria, Russia, Germany, England and Switzerland, welcomed into each European court as a revered survivor of the final days of the Ancien Régime and showered with commissions from foreign aristocrats and fellow refugees alike.

Vigée Le Brun arrived in Naples in April 1790, having received a number of important commissions there arranged through the intervention of Queen Maria Carolina, a sister of Marie-Antoinette.
Over the next two years, the artist shuttled back and forth between Naples and Rome, necessitated by her relentless schedule of portrait commissions.

It was on her third extended stay in Naples, in the spring of 1791, that she began work on the portrait of Emma Hamilton as the Cumaean Sibyl, the work that the artist herself would come to regard as her personal favourite.

It is the last of three portraits that Vigée Le Brun made of the celebrated beauty who, just a few months later, would become the wife of Sir William Hamilton (1730-1803), English Minister to Naples and a renowned archeologist, vulcanologist, and connoisseur of ancient art, whose collection of antiquities, vases and carved gems would eventually form the nucleus of the British Museum.

Vigée Le Brun writes in her Souvenirs (1835) that she met her glamorous sitter only days after she arrived in Naples in the spring of 1790, when Sir William Hamilton appeared at her studio and introduced them:

‘…he requested that my first portrait in the town might be that of an exceptionally beautiful woman whom he introduced to me as Mme. Hart, his mistress; she later became Lady Hamilton, and her beauty brought her great fame.’

A legendary beauty, Emma Hart was, by the time of her first meeting with Vigée Le Brun, one of the most frequently painted models in Europe and famously the subject of dozens of portraits by George Romney, as well as by a host of other painters throughout the continent.
‘The life of Lady Hamilton reads like a romantic fiction,’ wrote Vigée Le Brun.

(...)

Vigée Le Brun painted three portraits of Emma Hart, works that are as much history paintings as likenesses of their famous sitter.

In the first, Emma is depicted as a Bacchante (or Ariadne) reclining in a grotto by the sea. That work, now in a private collection, was commissioned by Sir William Hamilton and begun shortly after their first meeting in the spring of 1790.

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Vlblha10
Lady hamilton as Bacchante (or Ariadne)
Oil on canvas, 1792
A faithful small copy by Henry Bone is in the Wallace Collection in London.
Image : Batguano.com


In the second portrait (Cheshire, Port Sunlight, Lady Lever Art Gallery), which the artist retained in her own collection until her death in 1842, Emma is shown at three-quarter-length dancing before Mount Vesuvius with a tambourine in her hand.
Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 3b552p10
Lady Hamilton en Bacchante dansant devant le Vésuve
Oil on canvas, circa 1790
Image : National Museums Liverpool via Wikipedia


For the third and final portrait, which Vigée Le Brun considered one of her masterpieces, the sitter appears as the Cumaean Sibyl, writing a Greek text on a scroll.
In antiquity, the Sibyl of Cumae – named after the site of a town founded by the Greeks northwest of Naples on the coast of Campania – was a seer and oracle who uttered prophesy under the divine inspiration of Apollo.

The three sittings that Emma gave the artist took place in the summer of 1791 at the Hamilton villa at Caserta, 25 miles north of Naples.
Vigée Le Brun finished the portrait somewhat later, following her return to Rome, at which point she signed and dated it ‘1792’.

It appears to have been commissioned by the comtesse du Barry’s lover, the duc de Brissac, then the governor of Paris and head of Louis XVI’s palace guard.


The original painting is today in the Capricorn Foundation at Ramsbury Manor, Wiltshire.

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Capt1178
Lady Hamilton as the Cumaean Sibyl
Oil on canvas, 1792
Pas mieux comme image, désolé ! Source : Batguano.com


The present painting is an exact, autograph replica of the prime version.
Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 2019_c13
Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 2019_c12
Photos : Christie's

Why Vigée Le Brun made two versions of the painting, of equally high quality and in quick succession, is unclear.
Joseph Baillio has speculated that the immediate acclaim with which the painting was received may have prompted the artist to keep it for herself, to accompany her from city to city in her exile as her artistic ‘calling card’.

If this theory is correct, the present replica would then have been made to fulfil the commission from Brissac and, indeed, the present canvas was in the Cossé-Brissac collection in Paris until 1919.
It may also have been the version sent to Paris from St. Petersburg to be exhibited in the Salon of 1798; a full-sized version was in the estate sale of the artist’s ex-husband, J.-B.-P. Le Brun, sold at auction on 16 May 1814, lot 80.
However, it is also possible that she kept the signed and dated picture for herself simply because, by the time it was completed and ready for delivery, the duc de Brissac was dead, having been slain in a revolutionary massacre on 9 September 1792.

In any event, Vigée Le Brun kept the prime version, which travelled with her to Austria, Russia, Germany and England, and was used to advertise and promote her unexcelled abilities as a portrait painter; it was only in 1819 that she was coerced into selling it to the duc de Berry.

A superb, bust-length version of the composition (today in a private collection) appears in the list of paintings from her hand that Vigée Le Brun included as an appendix to her memoirs; she presented it as a gift to Sir William Hamilton who, she notes acidly, ‘without hesitating, sold it.
It appeared in Hamilton’s sale at Christie’s in 1801, lot 28, and was purchased there by Alleyne FitzHerbert, 1st Baron St Helens, who also owned Mme Le Brun’s original Self-Portrait of the Artist Wearing a Straw Hat (1782; Private collection).

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Img_3511

Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 Lady_e12
Photos : les reporters du Forum de Marie-Antoinette.  Galerie virtuelle des oeuvres de Mme Vigée Le Brun - Page 14 3622972399

Vigée Le Brun was certainly prompted to paint Emma Hart in historical guises in all three portraits of her by the sitter’s much-admired talent for ‘Attitudes’ and by Hamilton’s enthusiasm for them.
The present painting is virtually a tableau vivant laid down on canvas, with the sitter dressed in ‘Greek’ costume and a turban flatteringly framing her lovely face as she gazes heavenward for inspiration.
The picture’s great success was born of Vigée Le Brun’s ability to convey Emma’s beauty, sensuality and pure animal magnetism with such force while still maintaining a sense of dignity and decorum.
Soon after completing it, she took it with her on a journey to Vienna. Here, she explains :

I immediately painted the portrait of the daughter of the Spanish Ambassador, mademoiselle de Kaguenek … as well as the Baron and Baroness de Strogonoff. My Sibyl, which people came in their droves to admire, played no small part in convincing people to ask me to paint them’.

If Vigée Le Brun’s later years were filled with more triumphs and continuing professional success, Emma Hart’s years were to be far fewer in number and marked by sorrows.

(...)

Note : We are grateful to Joseph Baillio for his assistance with this entry. He will be including the present lot in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the paintings of Vigée Le Brun.
Source : Christie's London - Old Masters Evening Sale, 4 July 2019
La nuit, la neige
La nuit, la neige

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Date d'inscription : 21/12/2013

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