A 19thC French School Oil on Canvas Portrait of a Gentleman c.1890

Origin: French, Lille Area
Period: 3rd Republic
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1890
Height: 21.75”
Width: 18.25”

The hugely atmospheric bust-length portrait of a dashing young French gentleman having short dark hair and long moustache, and looking directly out to the viewer, painted in oils on canvas, the sitter shown in a black over garment with a white collared under garment, the work with a ruled border and being signed top right in calligraphed script “a. sajon d'apres photogenic’’ presented unframed and surviving from the Lille district of France.

The picture remains in nice original condition with no over-painting or restoration and a good deal of craquelure and paint fleck loss to the surface; with marks and scratches to some areas, a L shaped puncture and a beautiful fade; please refer to the photographs for a visual reference. It is possible that this work is an over painted photograph but we are not certain.

The stamp verso reads ‘dorure tableaux en Hubert van Rossen à Lille rue 6 de chaussee’ and there is a number 10 stamp above. We have found another painting with this stamp which was of a similar date and signed Maurice R.

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. The portraits took pride of place in the home, or were given to others as gifts.

Perfectly encapsulating faded grandeur and the beauty of the ghostly time-worn.