ATTRIBUTED TO CATHERINE LUSURIER | A YOUNG BOY SEATED IN A LANDSCAPE, THREE-QUARTER LENGTH
Property from the Collection of J.E. Safra
ATTRIBUTED TO CATHERINE LUSURIER
(?) 1753 - 1781 Paris
A YOUNG BOY SEATED IN A LANDSCAPE, THREE-QUARTER LENGTH
oil on canvas
21⅜ by 17⅝ in.; 54.3 by 44.9 cm.
The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, email@example.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This work is in very good condition. The canvas has been lined onto a rough piece of burlap. The work is cleaned and varnished. There are very few retouches. They are mostly in the dark colors of the hair beneath the hat, in the tree trunk on the left side and in a few spots in the lower right corner. There are no retouches in the sky or face. The only retouches in the figure are in the darkest shadows of the clothing. The work should be hung in its current condition.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."
Thos. Agnew & Sons, Ltd., London;
There acquired by a Noblewoman;
From whom acquired by an anonymous collector;
Anonymous sale, Knightsbridge, Bonham’s, 3 July 1997, lot 79 (as Nicolas Bernard Lépicié);
Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, 30 January 1998, lot 109 (as Attributed to Lusurier);
Although the French artist Catherine Lusurier, who lived only until the age of 28, received great admiration during her lifetime, little is known of her biography. Fortunately, she did sign and date a handful of her paintings, which has allowed scholars to piece together her small oeuvre.
Lusurier was the niece of the painter Hubert Drouais (1699-1767), often referred to as "Drouais père" to distinguish him from his son, Francois Hubert Drouais (1727-1775), also a painter. Indeed, by 1767 Lusurier had moved in with Drouais père as an apprentice to the artist and companion to his wife, Marie-Marguerite Lusurier. Though Drouais père died later that year, Lusurier continued to live with her aunt on Rue des Orties, and even remained in the home after Marie-Marguerite herself died. She certainly continued to have a relationship with both Drouais fils and his own son, the artist Jean-Germain Drouais (1763-1788), as evidenced by Lusurier's beautiful and signed portrait of Jean-Germain, now in the Louvre (fig. 1).
The stylistic influence of the three generations of Drouais painters is evident in Lusurier's paintings, as is the work of another portraitist working in Paris, Nicolas Bernard Lépicié (1735-1784). It is Lépicié's subjects that most closely align with those of Lusurier, mostly children as well as artists or philosophers. Lusurier's style, however, is more direct, even in her tender portraits of young boys, as in the present work. While the inclusion of a landscape in the background may seem unusual for Parisian portraits at the time, she did include a landscape in one of her signed works, a portrait of Charlotte-Françoise DeBure, now at Milwaukee Art Museum.1 Lusurier's rejection of over-the-top sentimentality or extra Rococo flourishes distinguishes her portraits from those of her mentors and peers; the clarity of personality in paintings like the present work certainly make them particularly appealing to the modern eye.
We are grateful to Dr. Melissa Hyde for her assistance with the cataloguing of this lot.
1. Portrait of Charlotte-Françoise DeBure, 1776. Oil on canvas, 29 1/2 x 24 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Bequest of Arthur & Noryne Riebs. (M1959.80)