Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 19 April 2000, lot 61; Where acquired by the present owner.
This is the only known portrait by the artist, whose œuvre consists mainly of pastoral and mythological scenes. Born in Constantinople, Marie-Joseph Chénier was a politician, playwright and poet, of French and Greek origin. He specialised in historical subjects in revolutionary Paris. His best known work, Charles IX et la Saint Barthélémy, was first performed at the Théâtre-Français in 1789; its revolutionary zeal having resulted in the play being held back for nearly two years by the censor.
The panel is uncradled, flat and stable, and appears to have horse hair and paint on the reverse. The paint surface is clean and the varnish is clear and even. There are no damages visible to the naked eye. The varnish fluoresces opaquely under ultraviolet light, but a handful of very small retouchings are visible in the background, upper centre and upper left, in the screen just above his quill, and in the lower right corner. The painting is in overall very good condition. Offered in a carved and gilt wood frame in good condition. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."