We are grateful to Edgar Munhall, who based on firsthand inspection, has confirmed the present painting to be by Greuze, and suggests a probable dating to the mid-1760's. In a written communication Munhall writes, " Following the death of her royal lover Louis XV in 1774, his mistress Madame du Barry was forced to live in relatively reduced circumstances. Thus in 1775 she put up for sale in Paris some 338 paintings, drawings, and objets d'art
from her remarkable collection. Among the five important paintings by Greuze included in the sales was this "jeune & jolie Polonaise"
catalogued as a pendant to a similarly-sized image of "une amiable femme...posée négligemnet sur un canapé
." While the [present picture] was withdrawn from the sale of 1777 at 500 livres
, the latter fetched the hefty figure of 2599 livres
probably because of its more salacious subject (described in the sale catalogue as "la tête couverte d'un voile & la gorge presque nue
"). There is no justification for Martin's assertion that La Polonaise ever formed part of the collections at Hampton Palace.
The term "â la polonaise" in reference to eighteenth-century dress usually implied the addition of fur as a lining or edging of female garments. In the present case, however, the fur appears independent of the subject's coat."
Dr. Munhall's original letter of expertise accompanies this lot.