327

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Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

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Jean Marc Nattier and Studio
THE DUCHESSE DE CHARTRES AS HEBE

Provenance

Comte de Baillon, as of 1874;
Baronne de Gartempe;
Eugène Glaenzer, New York and Paris, as of 1904;
Otto H. Kahn (1867-1934), New York, as of 1919;
By whom sold to "une petite marchande qui le vendit à M. Bayer" (see R. Gimpel, 1963, cited below);
Edwin S. Bayer (1870-1929), New York;
with Wildenstein & Co., Paris and New York;
Earl Stendahl, Los Angeles, as of 1937.

Exhibited

Paris, Palais de la Présidence du Corps Législatif, Explication des ouvrages de peinture exposés au profit de la colonisation de l'Algérie par les Alsaciens Lorrains, April 1874, no. 362;
Paris, Galerie Ruhlman, 1932 (according to G. Pascal, cited below);
Paris, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Le Siècle de Louis XV vu par les artistes, June 1934, no. 25, entitled "La Princesse de Conti";
Los Angeles, Stendahl Art Gallery, Twenty-five Masterpieces of European Painters, 1935, no number;
Los Angeles, Art Association, Loan Exhibition of International Art, 15 October - 15 December 1937, no. 80, reproduced p. 18.

Literature

G. Göthe, Notice descriptive des tableaux du Musée National de Stockholm, part 1, Maìtres étrangers non scandinaves (2nd ed.), Stockholm 1900, under no. 1186;
C.D., "Du Portrait de la Duchesse d'Orléans, née Conti, par J.M. Nattier," in Les Arts, 36, December 1904, p. 30, reproduced p. 31;
P. de Nolhac, J.-M. Nattier,  peintre de la cour de Louis XV, Paris 1905, p. 147, reproduced in color, facing p. 38 [2nd ed., 1910, p. 238; 3rd ed., 1925, p. 263];
G. Huard, "Nattier," in L. Dimier, ed., Les Peintres français du XVIIIe siècle:  histoire des vies et catalogue des oeuvres, Paris and Brussels 1930, vol. II, n.p., under no. 44;
G. Pascal, "Les Oeuvres d'art et les intérieurs modernes," in Beaux-Arts, I, 25 January 1932, reproduced p. 11 (paintings as displayed at the Galerie Ruhlmann);
L. Vauxcelles, "Le Siècle de Louis XV vu par les artistes," in Le Petit Dauphinois, June 1934, reproduced;
Paris, Musée des Arts Dècoratifs, Exposition rétrospective E.-J. Ruhlmann, 1934, reproduced;
Paris, Galerie Jean Charpentier, Catalogue des objets d'art..., tableaux anciens..., composant l'importante collection de feu Madame Louis Burat, 17-18 June 1937, n.p., under the entry for lot 5;
R. Gimpel, Journal d'un collectionneur, marchand de tableaux, Paris 1963, p. 107, note 1 (visit of the author to the collection of Mrs. Otto H. Kahn, 17 February 1919, with an appended note of 1931) [English ed., Diary of an Art Dealer (trans. by J. Rosenberg), New York 1966, p. 92, note 4];
P. Grate, "Nattier and the Goddess of Eternal Youth," in Nationalmuseum Bulletin, Stockholm, III, no. 3, 1979, p. 156, under note 13, no. A/3 (author states incorrectly that the present painting is purported to be signed and dated 1741 and confuses it with the version formerly in the Burat collection);
P. Grate, French Paintings II:  Eighteenth Century, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm 1994, p. 215, note 3A;
P. Renard, Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766).  Un artiste parisien à la cour de Louis XV, Saint-Rémy-en-l'Eau 1999, pp. 80, 177, under "1744."

Catalogue Note

Recognized as one of the most beautiful women in the French Royal family, the sitter in the present portrait is Louise Henriette de Bourbon, known prior to her marriage as Mademoiselle de Conti, the daughter of Louis Armand II de Bourbon, Prince de Conti (1695-1727), and his wife Louise Elisabeth de Bourbon-Condé.  Born in Paris on 20 June 1726, she was married at Versailles to her cousin Louis Philippe, Duc de Chartres (1725-1785) on 17 December 1743.  At the death of Louis Philippe's father in 1752, the couple became the Duc and Duchesse d'Orléans.  Notoriously unfaithful to her husband, the Duchesse was known for her caustic, often cruel, sense of humor.  After a long illness, she died in Paris at the Palais Royal on 9 February 1759, at the age of only thirty-three, and was buried in the church of the Royal abbey of the Val de Grâce.

Nattier has depicted the eighteen-year-old Duchesse in the mythological guise of Hebe, the cupbearer to the gods of Olympus and the personification of youthful beauty.  She holds an ornate crystal and gold wine beaker and a cup from which Zeus, in the form of an eagle with flaming lightning bolts clutched in his talons, has swooped down from the heavens to drink.  Nattier's images of beautiful young noblewomen in the guises of mythological figures were quite popular, and the Duchesse d'Orléans was not the only woman to sit to Nattier as Hebe (for example, a portrait of Anne-Josèphe Bonnier de la Mosson, duchesse de Chaulnes, représentée en Hébé is preserved in the Louvre, Paris, inv. no. RF 1942-32). 

Nattier's portrait, Jeune Femme en Hébé, which was engraved in the third quarter of the 18th century by François Hubert and is now preserved in the Musée Condé, Chantilly (inv. no. 376), was at one time believed to be the prime version of the present composition.  However, the woman depicted in that painting looks quite different in complexion and bearing from known portraits of the Duchesse d'Orléans.  Scholars now believe that it is more likely that the prime version is the painting in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (inv. no. NM 1186), which is signed and dated, Nattier pinxit / 1744,1 and which may have been the version exhibited at the Salon of 1745 (no. 97 in the Salon livret). 

The present work is to be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Jean Marc Nattier being prepared by Joseph Baillio with the assistance of the Wildenstein Institute, as a replica with studio assistance.


1.  For a full discussion of the Chantilly and Stockholm pictures, see X. Salmon, Jean-Marc Nattier:  1685-1766, Paris 1999, no. 70, pp. 247-250. 

Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

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New York