Лот 232 | ÉLISABETH LOUISE VIGÉE LE BRUN (PARIS 1755-1842)ÉLISABETH LOUISE VIGÉE LE BRUN (PARIS 1755-1842)
Portrait de Joseph Hyacinthe François-de-Paule de Rigaud, comte de Vaudreuil (1740-1817), assis dans un fauteuil
huile sur toile
129,5 x 96,5 cm (51 x 38 in.)
Vraisemblablement collection Elisabeth Louise Vigée le Brun (1755-1842), hôtel du Coq, 99 rue Saint-Lazare, Paris, France ; son inventaire après-décès, 1842 (comme 'accroché dans le salon principal donnant sur le jardin : « Un portrait peint à l’huile, à mi-Jambe de Mr le comte de Vaudreuil, en habit de cour, placé dans un cadre de Bois doré… »') ; puis par héritage à sa nièce, Charlotte-Élisabeth-Louise ‘Caroline’ Vigée (1791–1864), épouse dès 1809 de son oncle maternel Jean Nicolas ‘Louis’ de Rivière (1778–1861), Paris, Louveciennes et Versailles, France.
Peut-être acquis à ces derniers soit par un héritier de Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, prince de Bénévent et prince de Talleyrand (1754-1838), soit par un certain Dup*** de G***, Paris, France, avant 1847 ;
Vente posthume Talleyrand et d’autres œuvres appartenant au cabinet de M. Dup*** de G***, hôtel des ventes mobilières, rue des Jeûneurs, Paris, (Me Ridel), 9-10 mars 1847, lot 73 (comme ‘Portrait de M. le comte de Vaudreuil, costumé en habit français, assis et vu jusqu’aux genoux').
Peut-être acquis lors de cette dernière vente par un membre de la famille de Clermont-Tonnerre ; puis par descendance aux actuels propriétaires, Paris, France.
Nota : Catalogue d’une belle collection de Tableaux anciens et modernes des école espagnole, italienne, flamande, hollandaise et française provenant de la galerie de M. le Prince de Talleyrand, et du cabinet de M. Dup*** de G***, Paris, Hôtel de Ventes Mobilières, 16 rue des Jeuneurs, salle n° 1, 7-8 mars 1847, par le ministère du commissaire-priseur Maître Nicolas-Napoléon-Bonaventure Ridel. Dans la même vente figuraient d’autres tableaux en provenance de la succession de Vigée Le Brun, notamment le portrait de la comtesse Du Barry tenant des fleurs (n° 69 ; vente Christie’s, New York, 1er mai 2019, n° 33) ; Amphion jouant de la lyre à côté de trois naïades (n° 70 ; cf. Carole Blumenfeld, Rome vs Athènes : les deux visages de la femme sous la Révolution française, cat. d’exp. Grasse, Musée Fragonard, 5 mai-22 septembre 2019, n° 6) ; le portrait de la cantatrice Angelica Catalani (n° 71 ; autrefois au Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth) ; et un portrait à mi-corps de l’impératrice de Russie, Élisabeth Alexievna (n° 74).
É. L. Vigée Le Brun, Souvenirs de Madame Louise-Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, de l’Académie royale de Paris, de Rouen, de Saint-Luc de Rome et d’Arcadie, de Parme et de Bologne, de Saint-Pétersbourg, de Berlin, de Genève et Avignon, Paris, 1835, I, p. 332.
Cette œuvre sera incluse au catalogue raisonné des peintures, pastels et dessins de Vigée Le Brun que prépare Joseph Baillio.
This item will be transferred to an offsite warehouse after the sale. Please refer to department for information about storage charges and collection
Post lot text
ÉLISABETH LOUISE VIGÉE LE BRUN, PORTRAIT OF JOSEPH HYACINTHE FRANÇOIS-DE-PAULE DE RIGAUD, COMTE DE VAUDREUIL (1740-1817), SITTING IN AN ARMCHAIR, OIL ON CANVASThe dashing Joseph Hyacinthe François-de-Paule de Rigaud, Count of Vaudreuil, was born in the Caribbean, in the French part of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), on 2 March 1740. The event probably occurred in the main house of a large agricultural exploitation, principally of sugarcane, located in a canton of the parish of Torbeck. This location within the district of Les Cayes was located 40 leagues from Port-au-Prince (Cf. Médéric Louis Élie Moreau de Saint-Méry, Description topographique, physique, civile, politique et historique de la partie française de l’isle de Saint-Domingue, new edition by Blanche Maurel and Étienne Taillemite, vol. III, Paris, Société de l’Histoire des Colonies Françaises and Librairie Larose, Paris, 1958, pp. 1326-1334.). His father was Joseph Hyacinthe, Marquis of Vaudreuil (1706–1764), commanding general and military governor of the island [consult La famille de Rigaud de Vaudreuil by the Quebec-based historian and archivist Pierre-Georges Roy, published in 1938], and his mother, born Marie Claire Françoise Guyot de la Mirande (1709–1778), was the widow of a rich planter and merchant, Dominique Charles Hérard († 1727). His paternal grandfather, a native of Languedoc, had been the governor of New France in North America, which at the time included Canada, Acadia and French Labrador, as well as the vast Louisiana Territory. The young count resided in Paris before entering the army of Louis XV. He was eighteen when Drouais portrayed him in front of a large map of the Leeward Islands (see Humphrey Wine, The Eighteenth Century French Paintings (The National Gallery Catalogues), London, 2018, pp. 178-186, illustrated in colour). He served during the Seven Years’ War as a second lieutenant of the gendarmes écossais in the general staff of the Maréchal Prince de Soubise. In 1770, he was appointed brigadier in the Dauphin’s cavalry regiment of dragoons, and that same year he was decorated with the royal and military Order of Saint-Louis. In 1780 he was promoted to the rank of maréchal de camp. Once discharged from the army, the ambitious Creole gentleman quickly began to frequent the high society of Paris and Versailles. (In this context, consult Benedetta Craveri, Les derniers libertins, (translated in French from the Italian by Dominique Vittoz), Flammarion, Paris, 2016, pp. 347-398.) Previously, Vaudreuil had had a relationship with a woman who gave him an illegitimate daughter in 1766. She was christened in Chartres under the name Marie Hyacinthe Albertine de Fierval, and in 1784 she married one of her father’s protégés, Pierre Charles d’Avrange de Noiseville, general secretary of the Grand Falconer of France. Mme de Noiseville played an important role in the life of Vigée Le Brun during and after the Bourbon Restoration. He quickly began a long-term romantic liaison with his ravishing distant cousin, the Comtesse (later Duchesse) de Polignac, née Yolande Martine Gabrielle de Polastron, whose husband was a captain of the Royal-Dragoons: the Count (future Duc) Armand ‘Jules’ François de Polignac, owner of the Château de Claye in Brie. In 1775, this charming woman of ancient nobility but of no great fortune attracted the attention of the young Queen Marie-Antoinette, who was tormented by the court's rules of etiquette; and Gabrielle became her most pampered friend. In 1780, Vaudreuil was named Grand Falconer of France in the King’s Household. Moreover, he was the closest friend of the king’s younger brother, the Comte d'Artois, whose countless indiscretions and libertine follies were costly to the state. In 1782, Vaudreuil accompanied ‘his’ young prince to Spain, to the great siege of Gibraltar. (See the Journal politique, ou Gazette des Gazettes, April 1782, pp. 36-37 and the relationship as described by Alexandre Ballet, Vaudreuil’s first valet de chambre: ‘Voyage du comte d’Artois à Gibraltar. 1782’, Revue rétrospective ou Bibliothèque Historique contenant des mémoires et des documents authentiques inédits et originaux, 3rd ser., vol. I, H. Fournier printing office, Paris, 1838, vol. I, pp. 193-220 and 289-323, vol. II, pp. 41-87 and 97-153.) During the French Revolution, Vigée Le Brun asked her brother, the writer Étienne Vigée, to burn the letters that Vaudreuil had sent her from Spain.Despite a lively and sometimes short-tempered personality, the count was the guiding spirit of the Polignac coterie, and the queen had a hard time tolerating his overbearing behaviour. Having accumulated all sorts of favours – including, in 1782, the role of governess to the royal children –, Gabrielle de Polignac secured well-remunerated positions for her lover through her influence on the queen. He was able to help himself to large sums of money from the kingdom’s coffers. These operations were facilitated thanks to the connivance of the Controller-General of Finances, Charles Alexandre de Calonne, who had gained access to that responsibility through Vaudreuil's skilful scheming. (Two other of the king’s ministers and Marshals of France, the Marquis de Castries as Secretary of State for the Navy and the Marquis de Ségur as Secretary of State for War – owed him their positions in the Royal Council.) According to the author of Mémoires Secrets: ‘In addition to his great qualities as a minister, Monsieur de Calonne has those of a courtier and man of society. He is in good standing with the Polignacs and Vaudreuils, who speak in a familiar tone.’ (Mémoires secrets pour servir à l’histoire de la République des lettres en France…, ou Journal d’un Observateur, vol. XXV, London, John Adamson, 1786, p. 217 [article dated 7 April 1784].) These abuses cost the queen, and those around her most opposed to the reforms advocated by the philosophes of the Enlightement, whatever popularity they still enjoyed. The artists and writers the comte protected called him ‘Vaudreuil-Mécène’. (The most complete and best-documented study of Vaudreuil as a collector is to be found in the remarkable book by Colin Bailey, Patriotic Taste: Collecting Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Paris, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2002, pp. 170-194.) Throughout the 1780s, he was the most important private client of Mme Vigée Le Brun and her husband, the art dealer Jean-Baptiste Pierre Le Brun. Among other masterpieces by the woman painter, he could boast that he owned Self-portrait in a Straw Hat (1782, private collection); the pastel portrait of Aglaé de Polignac, Duchesse Guiche (1784, private collection); the Bacchante; and the portrait of the actress, singer and dancer Madame Dugazon in the Role of Nina (1787, private collection).It is largely thanks to Vaudreuil that the salon of the supremely beautiful Mme Le Brun became fashionable. According to the chronicler Mouffle d’Angerville: ‘Recently [the artist] held a concert where M. Garat sang; Messieurs de Vaudreuil, de Galifet, de Polignac, and many fashionable courtiers were there; it was the day of the Queen’s ball. The gentlemen agreed that Mme Le Brun’s gatherings were infinitely more amusing than those of Versailles, and that they would remain there as long as she wanted; and indeed, they only arrived at Her Majesty’s ball at two or three o’clock in the morning, leaving a vacuum in the festivities of the day.’ (Mémoires secrets pour servir à l'histoire de la République des Lettres en France depuis 1762 jusqu'à nos jours, 24 February 1783, vol. XXII, pp. 103-104.) It was in his honour, and that of the financier Simon Boutin, that in 1788, after the comte's return from a trip to Italy, that she held her famous Grecian supper at the apartment where she lived on the first floor of the Hôtel de Lubert on rue de Cléry. It was one of the most memorable social events of the decade in Paris. According to certain contemporaries, including the baronne de Staël and Thomas Blaikie – who saw her at the picturesque hunt château of Gennevilliers that Vaudreuil had purchased from the duc de Fronsac –, he and the portrait artist were lovers. In March 1783, the Scottish landscape gardener, who had designed a large portion of the park of the Château de Bagatelle for the comte d'Artois, wrote in his diary that he had encountered the artist while visiting Gennevilliers: ‘Went one day with the Compte de Vaudreulle to see his Gardins at Genvillier those Gardins having been changed by one Labryer [Alexandre Louis Étable de la Brière] Architect but in such a way that there was no observations of Any perspective; the Compte is grand Fauconnier of France so that he came to Bagatelle with the Queens carriage and Six to take me to Genvillier; those Gardens I had allready seen; here I met with the fameuse painteresse Mme Labrun who creticised very much upon the works done by Labruryer; this woman has a great taste and is really esteemed one of the first painters in France; I was exceedingly glade to have the oppertunity of explaining myself before so knowing a person; we examined the Gardins explaining all the differant Landscaps which I showed might be done this pleased Mme Lebrun exceedingly as she is the Mistress of the Compt de Vaudreull.’ (Thomas Blaikie. Diary of a Scotch Gardener, at the French Court at the End of the Eighteenth Century, ed. Francis Birelle, London, George Routledge, 1931, pp. 179-180.)On New Year’s day 1784, the year that Mme Le Brun painted his portrait to commemorate the event, the comte de Vaudreuil was made Knight of the Order of the Holy Spirit by Louis XVI. Vaudreuil, who sat for his friend at the age of forty-four, is dressed in formal coat and tails lined in white silk and a vest – all in a brown fabric resplendant with gold braid, trim and beads – an attire complete by a pait of black silk breeches. These elegant garments are completed by such accessories as a white chiffon neck scarf, a fine lace jabot and cuffs and white stockings. The large blue sash of the Order of the Holy Spirit crosses his torso diagonally, and on his chest is sewn the silver badge of hte same knightly order. Moreover, the red silk rosette and ribbon of the royal military order of Saint-Louis that he received in 1770 are affixed to his jacket. Under his left arm he clasps a tricorn adorned with white plumes, and his hand holds the handle of a ceremonial sword, of which the blade is inserted into an ivory sheath. He sits in a luxurious chair made for him by Georges Jacob. Vaudreuil was an accomplished amateur actor, and the artist seems to have captured his talent as a performer; he lays his right arm on a table covered with a green velvet cloth, and appears to be telling a pleasant anecdote as he gesticulates with his hand like one of the characters in the light-hearted comedies that he interpreted with such wit. (It could be that the pose and the elegant clothing and furniture in this portrait inspired François Gérard when, in 1808, he painted the portrait of the Foreign Minister under Napoleon, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand Périgord [Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Mrs Charles Wrightsman Gift, acq. n° 2012.348], since Gérard knew both Vaudreuil and Vigée Le Brun well.)Two of Vaudreuil’s literary protégés celebrated the friendship between the aristocrat and his favourite artist, each in his own way. The first was Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun, known as ‘Lebrun-Pindare’, who praised the courtier and the artist in the ephemeral verse of a poem entitled ‘L’Enchanteur et la Fée’ (‘The Magician and the Faery’): Heaven, as an ultimate blessingGave him a charming Faery as his friend,Worthy indeed of my Enchanter. She was possessed of every quality: wit, talent, grace, ingenuousness;A magical deity whose expert handPainted the soul and brought canvas to life. You will say that such miracles no longer occur,That the Fairy and the Enchanter have crossed the dark waters. No, my friend, there they are, V*** and Le Brun. They have transformed my tale into reality. And the moralist Chamfort – to whom Vaudreuil often gave room and board in his townhouse on rue de la Chaise, and who will show his ingratitude by becoming one of the eulogists of the Revolution before committing suicide – composed a witty piece of verse published in the Correspondance Littéraire that had many a spiteful person sniggering:Rhyming verse completed at Gennevilliers, at the home of the Count of Vaudreuil by Mr de Chamfort of the Académie française for Madame Le Brun.On the throne or among the — ferns,At the court or in a — hamlet,Le Brun, queen or — shepherdess,Would play on my lute or even my — flute. (Friedrich Melchior, baron Grimm et al., Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique par Grimm, Diderot, Raynal, Meister, etc., ed. Maurice Tourneux, vol. XIV, Paris, 1880, October 1785, pp. 222-223.) In her famous Souvenirs, the artist raved about ‘l’Enchanteur’ (‘The Magician’), revealing a true affection on her part. (For more about Vigée Le Brun and her relations with the Count of Vaudreuil, consult Geneviève Haroche-Bouzinac, Louise Vigée Le Brun, histoire d’un regard, Paris, Flammarion (Grandes Biographies), 2011, particularly pp. 119-125.) Indeed, if she had had a lover, it would surely have been Vaudreuil, who was tall and handsome, with features only spoiled by traces of smallpox, an imperfection that she perfectly managed to portray that same year in her magnificent portrait of the minister Calonne.High born, the comte de Vaudreuil was even more blessed by nature than by fortune, though he was gifted in every way. In addition to the advantages of his high-class position, he showed all the qualities and graces that made him a delightful man: he carried himself with remarkable dignity and elegance; his glance was pleasant and refined, with extremely mobile features, reflecting his active mind; and his kind smile would appear at first greeting. The comte de Vaudreuil had a great deal of intellect, but you would have been led to believe that he only used his words as a foil for yours, so kind and gracious was his way of listening; depending on the serious or simply pleasant tenor of the conversation, he would adapt it to the proper tone or nuance, for he was as educated as he was light-hearted. He was an admirable raconteur, and I know poems he wrote that the most discerning people would cite with praise, but those verses were only read by his friends; he was even less willing to publish them since he allowed himself to write some of them in the spirit and form of a satirical epigram; he required truth in order to conduct himself so, and wrongful acts would have revolted his noble, pure soul; and one might say that while he showed little pity for anything vile, he was enthusiastically uplifted by everything that was proper. No one so enthusiastically served those who possessed his respect; if someone attacked his friends, he defended them with such energy that callous people accused him of exaggeration. — ‘You must judge me so,” he once replied to a narcissist with whom we were acquainted, “because I understand what is good, and you understand nothing.’The company he sought was that of the most distinguished artists and literary figures; they were among his friends, which he kept throughout his life, even those whose political opinions he did not at all share. He passionately loved all the arts, and his knowledge of painting was quite remarkable. As his fortune enabled him to satisfy his very costly tastes, he had a gallery of paintings by the greatest masters of various schools; his sitting room was filled with precious furniture and ornaments of the best taste. He frequently threw magnificent, enchanting parties, to the point that he was known as ‘the enchanter’; however, his greatest joy was to relieve the unfortunate; consequently, how many were ungrateful to him! (Vigée Le Brun, Souvenirs, cited in the Bibliography, vol. I, pp. 210-212.) The old comtesse de Boigne described Vaudreuil as an insensitive, superficial man: ‘I often saw the comte de Vaudreuil in London, but I never perceived the distinction with which his contemporaries honoured him. […] At Mme Lebrun’s home, he would swoon before a painting and patronized artists. He lived on familiar terms with them and kept his haughty attitude for the salon of Mme de Polignac and his ingratitude for the Queen, of whom I heard him speak with the upmost impropriety. Having emigrated and grown old, all that remained was the ridiculousness of all his pretensions and the indignity of seeing his wife’s lovers finance his house with gifts she was supposedly winning in the lottery.' (Récits d’une tante : Mémoires de la comtesse de Boigne, née [Éléonore Adèle] d’Osmond, published by Charles Nicoullaud, 3rd ed., vol. I, Paris, Librairie Plon, 1907, pp. 144-145.)Before the French Revolution, Vaudreuil’s spending far exceeded his enormous personal revenues and, when Calonne fell from grace in April 1787, his credit was totally exhausted. In the night between the 16th and the 17th of July 1789, he left Paris for Switzerland in the company of the comte d'Artois, the Polignacs, and other members of their society that a great proportion of the French population loathed. He left behind all his possessions, including his collection, of which a small portion was sent to him later in London by his cousin, the etcher Jean Philippe Le Gentil, comte de Paroy (1750–1824), and a fellow Creole, Colonel Pierre François Venault de Charmilly (?–1815), who later put it up for sale. Vaudreuil and his expatriate friends wandered from one country to the next throughout the entire Revolution, the Consulat, and Napoleonic Empire. Gabrielle de Polignac having died in Austria in December 1793 two months after the execution of Marie Antoinette, he married a young relative in London in 1795, Victoire Joséphine Marie Hyacinthe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil. They had two sons, Charles-Philippe-Joseph-Alfred (1796-1880) and Victor-Louis-Alfred (1799-1834). Vigée Le Brun drew pastel portraits of the mother and both sons in 1804. (Cf. Neil Jeffares, Dictionary of pastellists before 1800, online edition —http://www.pastellists.com/Articles/VigeeLeBrun.pdf—pp. 15-16, no J.76.39, J.76.391 and J.76.392; two of these pastels are reproduced in colour.) Victor-Louis had a daughter with his spouse Anne-Louise Collot, Marie-Charlotte de Rigaud de Vaudreuil (1830-1900), who married comte Gédéon de Clermont-Tonnerre. Their post-mortem auction included a great number of portraits of her paternal grandfather’s family.After definitively returning to Paris from his travels with the Bourbons, Vaudreuil was appointed by Louis XVIII to the Chamber des Pairs and to the Institut, and he was granted the title of Governor of the Louvre Palace, where he died on 17 January 1817 at the age of seventy-seven. His remains were laid to rest in the Saint-Pierre-du-Calvaire cemetery on the rue du Mont-Cenis, where they were joined by those of other members of his family.Among the lists of the artistic productions which appear at the end of each of three volumes of the original edition of her famous Souvenirs, published by the bookseller Hippolyte Fournier between 1835 and 1837, Louise Vigée Le Brun presented one original and five copies (that is to say "replicas") of her portrait of Vaudreuil under the year 1784, as well as ‘two busts’ executed in Paris after he returned from emigration. (Vigée Le Brun, Souvenirs, vol. I, 1835, p. 332 and vol. III, 1837, p. 331.) One of the later repetitions is an oval portraying the model in a black suit and yellow waistcoat; it is part of a private collection.The work generally considered as the first version of the half-lenght portrait of Vaudreuil – a work that was directly passed from Vaudreuil to his granddaughter, the aforementioned comtesse Gédéon de Clermont-Tonnerre (it is reproduced in a heliogravure in the frontispiece of each of the two volumes of La Correspondance intime du comte de Vaudreuil et du comte d’Artois pendant l’Émigration (1789-1815) published by Léonce Pingaud in 1889) – is in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. The comte is shown seated at a wooden table, probably octagonal in shape, with spiral legs and an edge carved in relief. (Cf. Joseph Baillio, Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842), Fort Worth, Kimbell Museum of Art, 1982, pp. 51-54, n° 14; Paris, Grand Palais National Galleries, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, 23 September 2015-11 January 2016, pp. 166-167 and 350, n° 50; New York City, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, 9 February -15 May 2016 and Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, 10 June-11 September 2016, pp. 96-97 and n° 21.)By far the finest example of the bust-lenght portrait of Vaudreuil belongs to the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris; in it the model wears a blue velvet jacket with a wide collar lined with white silk and adorned with a lawn jabot, a striped black-and-ochre waistcoat, and his knightly medals, including – on the chest – a simple red ribbon of the Order of Saint-Louis, without the cross, and the blue sash and badge of the Order of the Saint Esprit. This image, whose modeling is exquisite and whose depictions of features such as the eyes, half-open mouth and powdered hair are so lifelike leads us to believe that Vigée Le Brun executed it in the presence of the model as a preparatory study that would enable her to execute the two half-body portraits of the subject. The oval bust-lenght portrait, exhibited recently in the town of Versailles — Musée Lambinet, De la cour à la ville sous les règnes de Louis XV et Louis XVI : Cent portraits pour un siècle, 6 November 2019-1 March 2020, pp. 93-95, n° 42—lacks vitality, and the rendering of the hair appears rather harsh and even metallic.We would like to thank Joseph Baillio for writing the above catalogue entry.
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