otheby’s is pleased to present the May sale of 19th Century European Art, led by the Barbizon, Orientalist, Neoclassical, and Maritime genres. Featuring works by a variety of artists, including several women artists, the offered paintings, drawings, and sculptures represent the rich artistic diversity of the period. With enticing estimates, including property offered without reserve, this sale presents an opportunity for new as well as established collectors to discover this diverse category.
Virginie Breton was an accomplished painter and ardent advocate for women artists. She first trained with her father, Jules Breton, a celebrated painter of Barbizon landscapes and figures, and exhibited regularly at the Salon until 1934. Her choice of subject ranged from religious compositions, genre scenes, and landscapes to depictions of family life and children, for which she had a particular penchant. She served as President of the Union of Women Painters and Sculpture from 1895 to 1901 and worked to open the École des Beaux-Arts to female students, a success achieved in 1897. In 1894, she was the second woman—after her mentor, Rosa bonheur—to be decorated with the Légion d'honneur and became an Officier in 1914.
View Lot 408
Madeleine Lemaire was a French painter, illustrator, and watercolorist, specializing in still lifes fashionable portraits, and genre scenes. Lemaire regularly hosted a lively and influential salon in her studio, where she welcomed fellow artists, literati, actors, singers, and tastemakers. As a noted salonnière, she served as the inspiration for the autocratic hostess, Madame Verdurin, in volume one of Marcel Proust's celebrated novel, À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time), published in seven volumes between 1913 and 1927.
Lemaire debuted at the Salon in 1864 and continued to exhibit there throughout her career, where she received honors for her submissions in 1877 and 1900. She was part of the delegation of French women artists that exhibited at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and designed the cover for the catalogue of the exhibition held in the Woman's Building.
View Lot 467
Elizabeth Rebecca Coffin
Elizabeth Rebecca Coffin (1850-1930) was one of the most groundbreaking women artists of the Gilded Age. Coffin was born into a well-established Quaker family with founding ties to Nantucket, Massachusetts, where she summered regularly beginning in the 1880s and lived and worked from 1900 until her death in 1930. She earned a Bachelor of Arts at Vassar College in 1870 and in 1876 was the first person in the United States to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree, also at Vassar. In 1872, Coffin was the first woman to gain admission to The Hague Academy of Fine Arts, where she spent three years and received numerous awards for her paintings. Upon returning to the States, she studied at the Arts Students League in New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where she was a pupil of Thomas Eakins. She traveled extensively, often painting wherever she went, and exhibited widely throughout the US in group shows and monographic presentations.
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Officers of the Deuxième Régiment de grenadiers (which existed as such only from 1815 to 1821) can be identified by the red stripe on their collars and the cordes de requet that hang from their bearskin helmets.
The entwined Ls on the saddlepad are the emblem of Louis XVIII, King of France from 1814-1815 and then again from 1815-1824.
The medals adorning the vest of the Marquis—the blue centered star of the Légion d'Honneur, the green and yellow Ordre de Guttenberg, and the star-shaped Ordre de St. Louis—are all listed in the Annuaire Militaire of 1819, as are those of his fellow officers.
The École Militaire, on the Champ de Mars in Paris, is visible in the background.