pastel on paper
Paris, Hôtel Jean Charpentier, Exposition de pastels français du XVIIe e du XVIIIe siècle, 23 May to 26 June 1927, no. 89;
Paris, André Seligmann, Exposition du pastels français du XVIIe siècle à nos jours, 18 November to 9 December 1933, no. 38;
Paris, Galerie Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Le Siècle de Louis XV vu par les artistes, June 1934, no. 163;
Copenhagen, Palais de Charlottenburg, Exposition de l'art français au XVIII e siècle, 25 August to 6 October 1935, no. 282.
Despite his mastery in the medium, Nattier seldom used pastel, which makes this sophisticated portrait, dated 1753, of particular interest and rarity. In its early history it was thought to depict the French writer, critic, and playwright, Jean-François de La Harpe (1739 - 1803). This hyposthesis, however, was rightfully rejected by Ratouis de Limay in 1946 who noted that at the time of the portrait's execution La Harpe would have been scarcely fourteen years of age.1
1. E. Dacier and P. Ratouis de Limay, Pastels français des XVIIe et du XVIIIe siècles, Paris and Brussels 1927, pp. 48 - 49, no. 23, reproduced, plate XVII.
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