117
117

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Jean-Baptiste Perronneau
PORTRAITS OF AIMÉ BENJAMIN FLEURIAU AND HIS WIFE, MARIANNE SUZANNE LIÈGE FLEURIAU
Estimate
18,00022,000
LOT SOLD. 22,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
117

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Jean-Baptiste Perronneau
PORTRAITS OF AIMÉ BENJAMIN FLEURIAU AND HIS WIFE, MARIANNE SUZANNE LIÈGE FLEURIAU
Estimate
18,00022,000
LOT SOLD. 22,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Drawings

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New York

Jean-Baptiste Perronneau
PARIS 1715 - 1783 AMSTERDAM
PORTRAITS OF AIMÉ BENJAMIN FLEURIAU AND HIS WIFE, MARIANNE SUZANNE LIÈGE FLEURIAU
Quantity: 2
Both pastel;
both signed upper right in graphite: Perronneau;
Monsieur Fleuriau: bears inscription on the backing in pen and brown ink: AB Fleuriau/1756.
Madame Fleuriau: bears inscription on the backing in pen and brown ink:  Portret de Made. Marianne Suzanne Liège Fleuriau, Née le 1er. Janvier 1733./ Tiré Par Le Sr. Peronneau Pintre a Bordeaux Le 20e. 7bre 1756.

Monsieur Fleuriau: 535 by 463 mm; 21 by 18 1/4 in  (sight size)
Madame Fleuriau: 535 by 450 mm; 21 by 17 3/4 in  (sight size)
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Private Collection, England, until 1987,
when purchased by the present owner

Exhibited

London, Clarendon Gallery, The Art of the Pastel, 1986, nos. 6a/b, reproduced pl. VIII ('Monsieur Fleuriau');
New York, Wildenstein, The Arts of France from François Ier to Napoléon Ier:  A Centennial Celebration of Wildenstein's Presence in New York, 2005-2006, p. 217, no. 82, reproduced figs 82-1, 82-2

Literature

N. Jeffares, Dictionary of Pastelists before 1800, London 2006, p. 402, both reproduced

Catalogue Note

The sitters in this elegant pair of portraits are identified in old inscriptions, written on the paper covering the original backings.  The inscription on the back of Madame Fleuriau indicates that her portrait was executed in Bordeaux on 20 September 1756, when she was 23 years of age.  Due to the dominance and competition of Maurice Quentin de La Tour, Perronneau travelled to the provinces extensively at this time, searching for new patrons.  In the same year he executed, also in Bordeaux, the spectacular portrait of Bernard-Olivier Journu, known as the Jeune homme ‘à trois roses’, now in the Metropolitan Museum.1 

Aimé-Benjamin Fleuriau (1709-1787) was left by his father penniless and burdened with debts.  With few other options, he set sail for Santo Domingo in 1729, to join his uncle Paul Fleuriau there, and he remained in the colonies for 27 years, gradually making a fortune from trade, sugar production and property.  He returned to La Rochelle a wealthy man in 1755, having entrusted his businesses to relatives.  At that point he became engaged to the young Marianne Suzanne Liège (1733-after 1793), the daughter of another wealthy La Rochelle merchant with interests in the colonies.  Perronneau's pastels, executed in 1756, may well have been made in celebration of the couple's betrothal.  

In 1908 a mediocre copy after the portrait of Madame Fleuriau, formerly in the René d’Hubert collection, was included in the Exposition de cent pastels du XVIIIe siècle, at the Galerie Georges Petit (no. 83).2

Perronneau is regarded as one of the top two French pastellists of the 18th Century.  Neil Jeffares has aptly described the artist’s ground-breaking achievements as a colourist in:  ‘..obtaining extraordinary harmonies - e. g. garnets and violets against yellow grounds, or the characteristic green strokes to suggest shadows on flesh (which he usually depicts in a predominantly yellow tonality), anticipating the deconstructionist approach of Chardin and even of the impressionists.’ 3

His pastels are characterized by a remarkable spontaneity and although less flamboyant than those of his great rival La Tour, they convey a more realistic and immediate representation of the sitter.

1 N. Jeffares, op. cit., London 2006, p. 403

2 New York, Wildenstein, exhib. cat., op. cit., 2005-2006, p. 218, and note 9

3 N. Jeffares, loc. cit., p. 397

Old Master Drawings

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New York