47
47
Jean-Étienne Liotard
PORTRAIT OF A SEATED YOUNG LADY, SEEN IN PROFILE
Estimate
10,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 36,250 GBP (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT
47
Jean-Étienne Liotard
PORTRAIT OF A SEATED YOUNG LADY, SEEN IN PROFILE
Estimate
10,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 36,250 GBP (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master & British Works on Paper

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Jean-Étienne Liotard
GENEVA 1702 - 1789
PORTRAIT OF A SEATED YOUNG LADY, SEEN IN PROFILE
Black and red chalk, heightened with white chalk (recto);
selectively toned with blue and black chalk (verso)
229 by 175 mm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Camille Groult, Paris (according to an old inscription to the backing board "Monsieur Groult")

Exhibited

Paris, Exposition universelle de 1900, Exposition rétrospective de la Ville de Paris (according to an old label to the backing board)

Catalogue Note

This exquisite portrait drawing by the Swiss maestro, Jean-Étienne Liotard, perfectly demonstrates the artist's immense ability not only to render sitters in his preferred medium of pastel, but also on a more intimate scale in a highly refined combination of coloured chalks.  Moreover if one examines the verso of the present sheet, one sees the extraordinary 'negative' image of the portrait that the artist has created.  Liotard, always so experimental, unconventional and innovative in his works, seems to have traced the contours of the figure from the recto, in a combination of red and black chalk as is evident around the area of the chair, and then filled in the spaces in broad patches with coloured chalks, indicating the features of the face with a soft black, possibly moistened, pastel.  The thinness of the paper allows the colouring to show through to the recto, subtly modifying the tonality of the page.  In fact, this was a device that Liotard used fairly regularly in his later drawings, for example, the Portrait of Charles-Benjamin de Langes de Montmirail, Baron de Lubières.1  Occasionally he seems to have used watercolour instead of chalk for the same effect, as on the verso of the Young Roman Woman seen in profile in the Louvre.2  While the principles of this technique derive from his training as a miniaturist and enameller, Liotard seems to have been characteristically innovative and experimental in the way that he applied them to the rather different medium of drawing.

We are grateful to Marcel Roethlisberger for confirming the attribution to Liotard and to Renée Loche, who supports the attribution and suggests that the thus far unidentified sitter is of Genevan origin.

1. See A. de Herdt, Dessins de Liotard, exhibition catalogue, Geneva, Musée d'art et d'histoire and Paris, Musée du Louvre, 1992, no. 106, the verso also reproduced.
2. Ibid., p. 8

Old Master & British Works on Paper

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