Ce magnifique portrait vient d'être vendu chez Christie's pour 701 000 $. Il était à la base estimé entre 600 000 et 800 000. Je ne vous poste pas le portrait en entier, vous l'avez plus haut, mais quelques détails.
Ce tableau est une huile sur panneau de 31.8 x 26.1 cm. La Reine y est peinte en buste dans une niche en trompe-l'oeil.
L'oeuvre est signée en bas à droite.
Une date, ‘8eme Juillet 1800-’, figure à l'arrière du tableau. Pour la petite histoire, ce portrait a été envoyé par l'artiste à la Duchesse d'Angoulême en 1800. Il était la propriété d'un Collectionneur européen et reste donc dans le domaine privé.La littérature où mention de cette oeuvre
E. L. Vigée Le Brun, Souvenirs, Paris, 1837, II, p. 350.
E. L. Vigée Le Brun, 'Enoncé de différents bruits que j’ai eu à supporter jusqu’à ce moment' 1829, N. Kourakine, ed., Souvenirs de Voyage…, Moscow, 1903, p. 477.
P. de Nolhac, Madame Vigée-Lebrun: peintre de la reine Marie-Antoinette, Paris, 1908, p. 115.
W. H. Helm, Vigée Le Brun: Her Life, Works and Friendships, London, 1915, p. 134.
A. Blum, Madame Vigée Le Brun: peintre des grandes dames du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1919, p. 72.
J. Baillio, 'Le Dossier d’une œuvre d’actualité politique : Marie-Antoinette et ses enfants par Mme Vigée Le Brun', L’œil, 310, May 1980, p. 60 (wrongly identified as a copy after another portrait of the French Queen).
E.L. Vigée Le Brun, Mémoires d'une portraitiste 1755-1842, Paris, 1989, p. 155, illustrated.
O. Blanc, Portraits de femmes : artistes et modèles à l'époque de Marie-Antoinette, Paris, 2006, p. 95, illustrated.Expositions
New York, Wildenstein Gallery, The Winds of Revolution, November-December 1989, no. 106.Extraits des notes complémentaires
....... The present painting is the most personal and poignant testimony of the relationship between Vigée Le Brun and her tragic Queen. Executed on a small wooden panel with a highly polished finish reminiscent of a 17th-century Dutch cabinet picture, this portrait of Marie Antoinette was painted posthumously and entirely from memory near the end of the artist’s stay in the Russian capital of Saint Petersburg. The queen, who had died on the guillotine in Paris in 1793, is depicted wearing a simple muslin shift reminiscent of the one she wore on her way to execution, its whiteness symbolizing her innocence and martyrdom.
The portrait is signed on the lower right, scratched into the wet paint as the artist was known to do, and an inscription in black paint on the reverse of the panel indicates it was painted in 1800. Vigee Le Brun sent the painting to Marie Antoinette’s daughter, Marie Thérèse Charlotte de France, Duchesse d’Angoulême (1778-1851), the only surviving child of the Queen and Louis XVI........
Vigée Le Brun recounts the origins of the painting in her celebrated Souvenirs, published in 1837. The artist had been invited to visit the royal family in Mitau but for various personal (and professional) reasons declined. “The comte de Cossé arrived in Petersburg from Mitau where he had just left the royal family. He paid me a visit in order to persuade me to visit the princes who would be very pleased, he said, to see me. At that moment I was very sorry, for I could not leave my daughter who was ill, and moreover I was obliged to fulfill the portrait commissions I had accepted not only from important clients but also from the Imperial family, which prevented me from leaving Petersburg for some time. I expressed my distress to M. de Cossé, and as he was returning right away, I immediately painted from memory the portrait of the queen, which I begged him to present to the duchesse d’Angoulême, until such time as I would myself be able to take Her Royal Highness’s orders.” Although presumably painted quickly, the portrait displays no signs of haste. Masterly in its execution, it is finished with layer upon layer of exquisite translucent glazing, reproducing the roseate, glowing complexion which the Queen’s contemporaries regularly commended. The sitter’s eyes sparkle and she displays a youthful beauty and health that recall her appearance when the artist first encountered her, when they were both twenty-three, and not the diminished and prematurely aged woman of her sad, final years.
The arrival of the portrait in Mitau must have been a bittersweet pleasure for the duchesse d’Angoulême, still only twenty-one years old but living far from home in a loveless marriage. A letter from the Duchess thanking Madame Le Brun for the gift suggests as much. “The comte de Cossé presented me, Madame, with the portrait of my Mother which you had asked him to bring me. You have afforded me the double pleasure of seeing in one of your most beautiful works an Image very dear to my heart, thus of being beholden to you for having used your talents as a proof of your sentiments. Be assured that I feel this more deeply than I can express. And count on my feelings for you. Marie Thérèse.” (The original letter was sold at auction at Versailles, Hôtel des Chevau-Légers, Précieuse collection d’autographes de femmes célèbres, 8 March 1977, lot 2.)
The present painting, which was rediscovered by Joseph Baillio and first published by him in 1989, will be included in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Vigée Le Brun.http://www.christies.com//lotfinder/paintings/elisabeth-louise-vigee-le-brun-portrait-of-marie-5986882-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5986882&sid=94ff620c-a20b-4fda-af51-892515c9a2ab#top
Comme les experts le disent, a masterpiece
Le contempler seulement est un privilège.