Lot 51
  • 51

Louis-Léopold Boilly

180,000 - 250,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Louis-Léopold Boilly
  • Portrait of the singer Jean Elleviou in Le Prisonnier
  • signed lower left: L. Boilly
  • oil on panel
  • 21 1/8  by 15 7/8  in.; 53.7 by 40.5 cm.


M. Bressant;
His sale ("M. Bressant de la Comédie Française"), Paris. Hotel Drouot, 24 November 1880, lot 49;
Félix Doistau;
His sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 9 June 1909, lot 3 (to Helbronner for 5200 FF);
Madame Alexandre Elissen, 1930;
With Galerie Cailleux, Paris;
Private collection;
Anonymous sale ("Appartenant à une collection particulière euopéenne"), Paris, Sotheby's, 27 June 2002, lot 96.


Paris, Salon, Muséum central des Arts, year VI (1798), no. 41;
Paris, Galerie Seligmann, Hôtel de Sagan, L.L. Boilly, 1930, no. 164 (with incorrect dimensions, 35 by 42 cm.).


Collection des livrets des anciennes expositions...Salon de 1798, Paris 1871, p. 16;
E. Bellier de la Chavignerie and L. Auvray, Dictionnaire general des artistes de l'école française, vol. I, Paris 1882, p. 108;
H. Harrisse, L.-L. Boilly, Paris 1898, p. 76, cat. no. 16 (with incorrect dimensions, 54 by 70 cm.);
P. Marmottan, Le Peintre Louis Boilly (1761-1845), Paris 1913, pp. 62, 67, 204, 232;
M. Delafond, in Louis Boilly, exhibition catalogue, Paris 1984, p. 107;
S. L. Siegfried, The Art of Louis-Léopold Boilly, New Haven and London 1995, pp. 188-89.

Catalogue Note

Jean Elleviou (1769-1842), an operatic tenor, was one of the most celebrated French singers of his time.  Though he made his debut in 1790 at the Comédie Italienne as a baritone in Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny’s Le Déserteur, a year later he performed in a tenor role in Nicolas Dalayrac’s Philippe et Georgette.  Elleviou toured in Italy in 1795 and throughout France in 1795-97, returning to Paris to perform at the Opéra-Comique (the newly renamed Comédie Italienne).  Elleviou was famed for the remarkable sweetness and flexibility of his voice, and for his excellent diction.  In addition, his charm and handsome figure on stage made him a favorite with Parisian audiences.

Boilly’s portrait of Elleviou depicts the young singer in his role in Le Prisonnier or La Ressemblance, a comic opera in one act with music by Domenico Della-Maria and libretto by Alexendre Duval, which premiered at the Théâtre Feydeau on 29 January 1798.  The painting was exhibited at the Paris Salon in July of 1798 as no. 41, “Portrait du Cen. Elleviou, Artiste du théâtre de L’Opéra-Comique national, représenté dans le costume de son rôle dans la jolie pièce du Prisonnier.”Two years later, in the Salon of 1800, Boilly exhibited a trompe l’oeil painting depicting various drawings and prints including at center an “engraving” that reproduces his earlier portrait of Elleviou.  The artist also included his own self-portrait in the composition at lower left (fig. 1).


1.  Collection des livrets des anciennes expositions….Salon de 1798, Paris 1871, p. 16.