A 19thC Defaced French School Oval Pastel Portrait of Lady c.1870

Origin: French
Period: 2nd Empire
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1870
Height: 24”
Width: 20”

The defaced portrait of a French lady in oval form, executed in pastels on paper and laid to card, wearing a navy dress with brooch clasp, her hair tied up, her face totally and intentionally damaged, on a beautiful green grey ground, the work unframed and surviving from the third quarter of nineteenth century France.

The photographs show clearly that there are areas of loss, to the lower section and paper loss to the top, and the obvious defacing which seems to have been overpainted with white paint.

The sitter has deliberately been de-faced at some stage which we find interesting as it throws up the question of why.. was it an ex-love? A family fall out? A petty squabble or something more serious…

We love this for all of the possible reasons as to why she has been defaced. It will always remain a mystery and for that reason we find it fascinating.