• Portrait of Madame Geoffrin

    Artist:
    Unknown French artist. 18th century
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    74х61 cm (oval)

Unknown French artist. 18th century

Portrait of Madame Geoffrin

France, 18th century

Title:

Portrait of Madame Geoffrin

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

74х61 cm (oval)

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1933; handed over from the Antikvariat All-Union Association

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-6913

Comment:

Marie-Thérèse Geoffrin (1699–1777), nee Rodet, was the hostess of one of the most famous philosophical, artistic and literary salons in Paris. In 1753 her salon was visited by a young Polish aristocrat Stanislaw August Poniatowski. In 1766 Madam Geoffrin visited Warsaw. It was through her assistance that Stanislaw August commissioned eminent painters Noël Hallé, Louis Jean François Louis Jean François Lagrenée the Elder and Joseph-Marie Vien to do four monumental paintings currently on display at the Royal Castle. I.S. Nemilova [1985] considered this portrait to be the work of an unknown mid-18th century French artist. According to the authors of the catalogue of the exhibition devoted to Stanislaw August in Warsaw [Stanislaw August 2011], the Hermitage portrait, supposedly painted in commemoration of Madam Geoffrey’s visit to Warsaw, had earlier been held in the Stanislaw August collection and appeared under No. 1478 in the inventory published by T.Mankovsky [1932], which states that the portrait was signed by Jean-François Сolson and dated either 1757 or 1767. I.S. Nemilova [1985] presumably identified the bust shown on the left side of the painting with the portrait of D'Alembert. The Polish researchers thought that it was Stanislaw August himself. The National Museum in Krakow has on display a pastel attributed to Louis-François Marteau which bears a close resemblance to the Hermitage portrait and also shows Madam Geoffrin. It can be assumed that both the Krakow pastel, created by a truly good master, and the Hermitage painting, a second-rate work but with a more complete composition, harken back to the same prototype. This is proved by entirely identical details of the clothing and the head-dress. Inscriptions, labels and notes on the back of the painting indicate that it found its way into Russia prior to 1917 and was put up for several sales. Comments by Ekaterina Deraybina

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