José M. Lamarca Guerrico Collection, Argentina (according to a label on the reverse)
Molière’s comedy Les Précieuses Ridicules centers around two provincial yet snobbish young women who travel to Paris in search of eligible suitors, only to be duped by two valets disguised as men of means. In the present work, the précieuses in their over-the-top finery flank Mascarille, one of the two imposters, who appears equally ridiculous with his powdered wig and feathered hat as he attempts to use his wit to woo the unsuspecting ladies, who do not yet realize they are being tricked. As noted in a label on the reverse, the present work depicts a scene from an 1888 Paris production starring the celebrated stage actor Benoît-Constant Coquelin (1841-1909) in the role of Mascarille, a role originated by Molière himself (fig. 1).
Examined in the frame. Original unlined condition. The surface presents well and the colors appear bright. There is widely patterned but stable craquelure across the picture surface, most visible at center right; and faint, very minor surface abrasions at center left. Under UV: varnish fluoresces green, and a very few isolated, finely applied pin dots of retouching fluoresce. 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. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.