Property from a Distinguished American Collection
(Tournus 1725 - 1805 Paris)
PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG WOMAN, BUST LENGTH
oil on canvas
17½ by 13½ in; 44.5 by 34.3 cm.
The canvas appears to be wax lined. The paint layer is stable, and the painting presents a decorative image. There is a fine pattern of craquelure visible throughout, consistent with the painting's age. The painting has been thinned and pressed in some areas, likely due in part to the aforementioned lining. This can be seen, for example, visible at her forehead and in her proper left face, where a campaign of retouching is visible to the naked eye. Inspection under UV reveals a varnish that fluoresces unevenly in areas and further reveals the retouching in her proper left face. A few additional fine and scattered strokes are visible in her proper right face, as well as some fine strokes in the lower right quadrant in her hand, costume, and whispy tendrils of hair. There is one spot of retouching at center of headband, one in upper left background. There are also some fine strokes at the extreme upper right corner. The painting is offered in a decoratively carved gilt frame.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Sale: Villanfray & Associés, Paris, November 29, 2017, lot 192
Acquired at the above sale
Jean-Baptiste Greuze was unmatched in his ability to capture emotion in a realistic and empathetic sense. He often painted expressive studies of heads, or têtes d'expression, as a method of exploring a range of emotions, usually to use in his larger compositions, or sometimes as a study kept for himself. The present work shows an elegant young woman, eyes directly at the viewer, with a soft, pensive expression. There is a subtle hint of melancholy that pushes the painting beyond a typical, straightforward portrait. The work exhibits Greuze's trademark loose brushwork, which appears as thick impasto in some areas, such as the ruffle along her neckline, combined with some more subtle, thinly-painted passages to create an ethereal and touching effect.