Origin: French Period: 2nd Empire Provenance: Unknown Date: c.1870-80 The Canvas: 22” high x 18” wide In Frame: 26.75” high x 22.75” wide x 1.75” deep
The half-length portrait of a dashing French gentleman, probably in his late thirties, having a well-groomed goatee beard and moustache, and looking out towards the viewer, painted in oils on canvas to a dark ground, the sitter shown in formal dress of a black blazer with a white collared under garment and cravat, the work presented in possibly its original gilded moulded frame, and surviving from the third quarter of nineteenth century France in attic condition.
The picture remains in original though unrestored condition with no over-painting and a good deal of craquelure and paint fleck loss to the surface; with marks and dirt to the surface remaining uncleaned; there are four patched repairs verso and one L-shaped tear to the top right which has yet to be repaired. please refer to the photographs for a visual reference. There are no marks verso aside from the stretcher being stamped ‘IC.’ and we cannot see a signature that is visible, though it hasn’t been inspected outside of the frame. The picture is priced to reflect its condition.
As with the ‘selfie’ today, portraits were also a chance for more self-conscious sitters to be depicted in the latest fashions. In the eighteenth century, the upper classes entered a new era of prosperity. No longer the preserve of royalty, commissioned portraits, of oneself or one’s ancestors, became a coveted symbol of wealth and status which continued even more so in the nineteenth century. The portraits took pride of place in the home, or were given to others as gifts.
A beautiful attic find that wheels us away to the echelons of nineteenth century French high society.