Lot 16
  • 16

Louis Carrogis dit Carmontelle

20,000 - 30,000 EUR
75,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Louis Carrogis dit Carmontelle
  • Self portrait of the artist
  • Red and black chalk, watercolour, heightened with white gouache
    Probably on a Pierre de la Mésangère mount bearing the inscription Mr de Carmontelle, Lecteur du duc D'orléans.
  • 299 x 219 mm ; 11 3/4  by 8 1/2  in


Perhaps collection of the artist before 1807 ;
Perhaps acquired by Richard de Lédans outside the sale after the death of Carmontelle on the 17 April 1807, part of the group "750 portraits en pied" ;
Perhaps collection Pierre de la Mésangère (1761-1831) after 1816 ; 
His sale 18 July 1832, lot 304 " collection composée de cinq cent vingt portraits dessinés et gouachés par Carmontelle" ; 
Anonymous sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, Piasa, 22 March 2006, lot 136 ;
Gallery Terrades, Paris, 2009

Catalogue Note

Like the drawing depicting Mademoiselle Pitoin and her father playing music (lot n°38) another self-portrait of Carmontelle exists at the Musée Condé, at Chantilly (Inv. Car 52). 
Madame de Genlis recalls in her Memoirs that Carmontelle sometimes gave the second versions of his drawings to the depicted sitters, but always kept the first ideas. It was Carmontelle's personal collection which ended up at the Chantilly Museum, after being inserted into the lovely passe-partout mounts of Pierre de la Mésangère. Our self-portrait is, however, similarly mounted, using the same procedure as those by de la Mésangère, and the collector could, after all, have possessed different versions of the self-portrait of the artist, since his sales catalogue did not describe the lots, but it is also possible that the drawing left the artist's collection a little bit before the others.
Whether or not it was in the de la Mésangère collection, the drawing is in any case signed, and is very revealing of the singular person that Carmontelle was, as the artist for once turns his acute observational eye on himself. 
He has placed himself out of doors, perhaps on the terraces in Saint Cloud where he had sketched many Court subjects. He is seated by a delicate table on a simple chair typical of the furniture of the period, and we imagine well the manner in which Carmontelle relocated his convenient studio to realize these portraits, within these large portfolios resting here on the leather surface. Using first the red chalk ('sanguine') pencil that we see on the left for the underlying drawing, he then contrasted the outline with graphite pencil before applying watercolour washes throughout (making use, no doubt, of the water vessel that stands near his right hand). 
Absolutely touching, this detailed drawing allows us to see the artist himself at work with the same verisimilitude with which he, the portraitist, captured each of his sitters in the course of their daily activities. His serious, lively and concentrated glance, which had experienced so many charming scenes, is for once itself thrown into the spotlight.