Louis Passy (grandson of the sitter);
Comtesse de Bueil;
Comte René de Bueil;
Comte Michel de Bueil;
Private Collection, New York.
Madame Péan de Saint-Gilles, born Henriette Vanglenne, was the wife of Louis-Denis Péan de Saint-Gilles (1764-1829), dean of Parisian stockbrokers, mayor of the 5th arrondissement of Paris and later representative of the Seine Department to the Chambre des Cent Jours. Both she and her husband died in 1829.
This portrait was one of the last portraits painted by Prud'hon before his death in 1823. It was painted to form a pair with the portrait of Madame Péan de Saint-Gilles's daughter, Madame Nicolas Frochot who, after her first husband's death in 1828, later became Madame Antoine Passy (Collection Richard L. Feigen, New-York). These portraits were commissioned in 1822 and purchased for 3,000 francs each, a price which reflected the artist's celebrity. Although Goncourt, stated that the portrait of Madame Passy was signed and dated 1822, neither that portrait nor the present portrait bears a signature or date1. However, the 1822 date is attested to by Madame Passy, herself, as recorded in a letter quoted in "Les dernières lettres de Prud'hon" 2. Goncourt wrote that the Portrait of Madame Péan de Saint-Gilles was de la plus belle qualité du Maître, e dont les chairs ont comme la caresse et le flou d'un pinceau flamand (of the master's best quality, with a rendition of the skin that has the softness of the Flemish masters) 3.
There are two preparatory drawings for this portrait. One, executed on blue paper (160 by 125mm.), in the Musée Bonnat, Bayonne, which shows the sitter at a seemingly younger age, holding a handkerchief in her left hand (fig.1); and another one formerly in the Bellanger collection (location unknown).
1 See E. de Goncourt, Catalogue Raisonné de l'Oeuvre Peint, Dessiné et Gravé de P.P. Prud'hon, Paris, 1876, p. 52.
2 See A.M.C. Clément, "Les dernieres lettres de Prud'hon", in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol.IX, March 1874, p. 290.
3 See E. de Goncourt, op. cit.
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