True Connoisseurship: The Collection of Ezra & Cecile Zilkha

True Connoisseurship: The Collection of Ezra & Cecile Zilkha

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 184. LA CORRESPONDANCE FAMILIALE.

Marguerite Gérard


Auction Closed

November 20, 10:09 PM GMT


150,000 - 200,000 USD

Lot Details




signed on the stool lower left: Mle gérard

oil on canvas

25 1/2 by 21 1/4 in.; 64.8 by 54 cm

J. Mignot, Paris, by 1960
Art market, London, 1983
The Keck Collection, La Lanterne, Bel Air, California
By whom sold, New York, Sotheby's, 17 January 1992, lot 59
There acquired
S. Wells-Robertson, Marguerite Gérard: 1761-1837, unpublished doctoral dissertation, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 1978, II, i, cat. no. 86, p. 867
C. Blumenfeld, Marguerite Gérard 1761-1837, Paris 2019, cat. no. 235 P, pp. 166, 241, reproduced p. 164
Paris, Musee Galleria, Femmes d'Hier et d'Aujourdhui, 14-20 October 1960, no. 68
In this tender depiction of a mother and her two daughters, an atmosphere of anticipation pervades the otherwise quiet and refined interior.  The mother, in a luxurious burnt orange gown, sits and carefully reads a letter while her two daughters await to hear the news.  The younger daughter comforts the elder with an arm around her back; both are dressed in fashionable white muslin dresses, straw hats tied around their arms with pink silk ribbon.  As was typical for the artist, Gérard includes a charming cat upon the footstool at lower left. 

Though Gérard is often credited with the resurgence of intimate genre scenes in the manner of seventeenth-century Dutch masters like Gabriel Metsu, by the end of the 1810s she had begun to abandon the elaborate glazing and meticulous brushstrokes of the Golden Age for a more summary treatment of textures and surfaces. Her subject matter, as well, shifted towards more contemporary scenes, both in mood and fashion.  La Correspondance Familiale, which Wells-Robertson dates to 1814-16 and Blumenfeld to 1814-18, falls precisely into this transitional stage of the artist's career.  The painting's superb condition reveals Gérard at the height of her artistic powers.