Friday, September 15, 2017

12 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, including Madame Mottewith Footnotes. # 12

Oil on canvas
126.9 x 103 cm.; 50 x 40 1/2  in.
Private Collection

Mary "Moll" Davis (1648 – 1708) was a seventeenth-century entertainer and courtesan, singer, and actress who became one of the many mistresses of King Charles II of England.

Davis was born around 1648 in Westminster and was said to be "a bastard of Collonell Howard, my Lord Barkeshire" - probably meaning Thomas Howard, third Earl of Berkshire, although her parentage has also been attributed to Robert's older brother Charles, the second Earl.

During the early 1660s she was an actress in the 'Duke's Theatre Company' and boarded with the company's manager, Sir William Davenant. She became a popular singer, dancer and comedian. She flaunted the wealth she acquired from her association with Charles, and gained a reputation for vulgarity and greed. 

Davis gave up the stage in 1668 and in 1669 had a daughter by Charles, Lady Mary Tudor, who became famous in her own right. Later, Charles dismissed Davis. Charles awarded her an annual pension for life of £1,000, and furnished a house fon Suffolke Street. At the time this street belonged to James Howard, Moll's natural father. 

In October 1673, Davis bought a new house in St James's Square, paying £1800. In December 1686, Davis married the French musician and composer James Paisible (c. 1656-1721). The Paisibles joined James's court in exile at St Germain-en-Laye, but in 1693 returned to England, where Paisible became composer to Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Princess Anne, heir to the throne. More on Mary "Moll" Davis

Henri Gascars, (1634–1701)
Louise de Querouaille (1649–1734), Duchess of Portsmouth, c. 1673
Oil on canvas
96 x 81 cm
Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge

Louise de Querouaille (Kérouaille),Duchess of Portsmouth, (September 1649 - 14 November 1734), an ancestress of Princess Diana, was born into a noble but relatively poor Breton family. The name Kérouaille derived from an heiress whom Louise's ancestor François de Penhoët had married in 1330.

Louise was placed in the household of Henrietta Anne Stuart, Duchess of Orléans, the favourite youngest sister of Charles II. In 1670 Louise accompanied Henrietta on a visit to Dover to negotiate a treaty with her brother Charles II, by the terms of the treaty, Charles was to convert to Catholicism when the time was ripe in return for a lucrative French pension.

The Duchess of Orleans died suddenly soon after this meeting. Louise was left unprovided for, but Charles II wrote to the French king requesting that Louise should come to England to serve as a maid of honour to his wife Catherine of Braganza.

It was claimed that she had been planted by the French court to lure the king of England. The support she received from France was certainly provided on the understanding that she should serve the interests of her native country. This deal was confirmed by gifts and honours from Louis XIV. However, she became highly unpopular with the English people. Louise yielded to Charles' advances only after she had established a strong hold in his affections. 

Henri Gascars, (1634–1701)
Louise de Querouaille (1649–1734), Duchess of Portsmouth, c. 1670
Oil on canvas
42 x 32 inches 106.7 x 81.3 cm
Private Collection

Her only child, a son Charles, was born in 1672 and was created Duke of Richmond, Earl of Darnley and Lord of Torbolton, by his father the king in 1675. He was given the surname Lennox, after Charles' Stuart ancestors, the Dukes of Lennox.

Louise herself was granted the titles of Baroness Petersfield, Countess of Fareham and Duchess of Portsmouth in 19 August 1673. In December 1673 she was appointed Duchess of Aubigny in the Peerage of France at the request of Charles II. Nell Gwynne, Charles' Cockney mistress, and Louise would prove rivals for many years.

Louise was strong enough to maintain her position during a long illness in 1677 retained her hold on Charles right to the end. In February 1685 she assisted in ensuring the king did not die without a Catholic confession and absolution. Soon after the king's death, Louise returned to France with her son the Duke of Richmond

During her last years Louise became more religious and resided at Aubigny, deeply in debt. The French king, Louis XIV, and after his death the regent Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, provided a pension, Louise died in Paris on 14 November 1734, at the age of 85. More Louise de Querouaille

Henri Gascars, (1634–1701)
Louise de Querouaille (1649–1734), Duchess of Portsmouth, c. 1675
Oil on canvas

Henri Gascar (1635 – 1 Jan 1701) was a French-born portrait painter who achieved artistic success in England during the reign of Charles II. He painted many leading ladies at court, including several of the King's mistresses, before returning to Paris. He subsequently relocated to Rome, where he died in 1701.

Gascar was born in Paris, the son a minor painter and sculptor. Gascar came to England about 1674, probably at the behest of Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth, Charles II's favourite mistress. Gascar was already known as a skillful portrait-painter.

The patronage of the Duchess of Portsmouth ensured Gascar a rapid success in England. His flamboyant style, contrasting with the stolid English approach, seemed to suit the frivolity of the time and he painted many of the ladies of Charles II's court. His lack of attention to detail in the likeness he made up for by the sumptuous draperies and tawdry adornments around the subject. 

Some time before 1680 he was shrewd enough to see that his success was merely due to a fashionable craze, and he retired to Paris before this had entirely ceased. On his return to Paris, Gascar was elected a member of the Académie Royale. He subsequently went to Rome, where he enjoyed a high reputation, and died there on 1 January 1701, aged 66. More on Henri Gascar

Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, PARIS 1755 - 1842
Oil on canvas
74,5 x 60 cm ; 29 1/4  by 29 1/4  in
Private Collection

Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy, "Comtesse de la Motte" (22 July 1756[1] – 23 August 1791) was a highly placed confidence woman whose greatest scam, the "Affair of the Diamond Necklace," sped the fall of the French monarchy.

Jeanne de Valois was born to a very poor family. Her father, Jacques de Valois de Saint-Rémy (1717–1762), was a direct male-line descendant of Henry de Saint-Rémy (1557–1621), an illegitimate son of King Henry II; despite having royal Valois blood, Jacques was known as a drunkard. Jeanne's mother was a debauched servant girl.

Jeanne was the third of six children. According to Count Beugnot they were rescued by his father and the abbot of Langres. According to another source, the family moved to Boulogne near Paris where a priest and one of his rich parishioners, Madame de Boulainvilliers, took care of them.

Their Valois ancestry was ascertained by a genealogist at Versailles, and as a result of legal dispositions set up to help children from poor nobility.  On 6 June 1780,[3] Jeanne married Marc-Antoine-Nicolas de la Motte, Mr Surmont's nephew and an officer of the gendarmes. At the time of her wedding, Jeanne was heavily pregnant at the time

While the de la Motte family's claim to nobility was dubious, both husband and wife assumed the title comte and comtesse de La Motte Valois.


The French jewelry firm Boehmer and Bassenge had invested a great deal of money into the stones needed to make a great necklace of diamonds, which they attempted unsuccessfully to sell, first to Madame du Barry, the mistress of Louis XV, and then to Louis XVI's wife, Marie Antoinette.   This necklace became an incredibly expensive prop in a convoluted intrigue:  Louis René Édouard, Cardinal de Rohan, was out of favor with the queen, and wished to regain her good graces.  The Comtesse de la Motte claimed to him that she was a favorite of the queen and could effect reconciliation.  She then encouraged the cardinal to correspond with the queen, but she herself provided the answers, which were inscribed by a confederate and signed with the queen's name.  She even arranged a meeting with a Marie Antoinette impersonator, and after a while the cardinal became persuaded that not only was the queen no longer angry with him, she was in love with him. The comtesse then convinced him that the queen wanted to buy the great diamond necklace – and that he should negotiate the purchase for 1,600,000 louis d'or, which he did, apparently in good faith.  He then handed the necklace over to the comtesse for delivery. The deception came to light when the jewelers asked to be paid.

This was the beginning of the most incredible swindle in the history of France. In 1784. Jeanne de la Motte was found guilty and sentenced to be whipped, branded and imprisoned. The public sympathized with her. She was condemned to prison for life in the Salpêtrière, but soon escaped disguised as a boy and made her way to London where, in 1789, she published her memoirs, which attempted to justify her actions while casting blame upon her chief victim, Marie Antoinette. More at Bryn Mawr College

Engraved by Meyer-Heine after De La Charlerie' From "Histoire de la Revolution Francaise" by Louis Blanc
The Torture of Madame de la Motte. Jeanne de Saint-Remy de Valois, Comtesse de la Motte. 

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (Marie Élisabeth Louise; 16 April 1755 – 30 March 1842), also known as Madame Lebrun, was a prominent French painter.

Her artistic style is generally considered part of the aftermath of Rococo, while she often adopts a neoclassical style. Vigée Le Brun cannot be considered a pure Neoclassicist, however, in that she creates mostly portraits in Neoclassical dress rather than the History painting. While serving as the portrait painter to Marie Antoinette, Vigée Le Brun works purely in Rococo in both her color and style choices.

Vigée Le Brun left a legacy of 660 portraits and 200 landscapes. In addition to private collections, her works may be found at major museums, such as the Hermitage Museum, London's National Gallery, and museums in continental Europe and the United States. More on Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Gustav Gaul, (German, 1836-1888)
A woman in folk dress, 1886
Oil on canvas laid down on masonite
50 x 34-1/4 inches (127 x 87.0 cm)
Private Collection

Gustav Gaul (born 6 February 1836 in Vienna , 7 September 1888 in Vorderbrühl, Stadt Mödling ) was an Austrian portraiteur and historian. Gustav was the older son of the painter Franz Gaul ; His younger brother was the later painter Franz Xaver Gaul . Gaul received his first lessons from his father; Sponsored by this, Gaul became a pupil at the art academy of his hometown. 

After five years, Gaul left the academy nd undertook a study trip to Upper Italy, and later spent several weeks in Dresden studying the Venetians. In 1855, Gaul was invited to present some of his paintings at the world exhibition in Paris. There followed a few study journeys through France and the Netherlands, from which he brought with him many landscaped sketches, which now and then reappeared in his histories.

One of his major commissioned works was the decoration of a hall at the Palais Todesco in Vienna. On behalf of the banker Edward von Todesco, Gaul designed a ceiling painting in Tempera with the train of Bacchus and scenes from the myth of Amor , Psyche and Venus .

At the age of 52, Gustav Gaul died on 7 September 1888 in Vorderbrühl, Stadt Mödling. More on Gustav Gaul

Alexandre-Jean Dubois-Drahonet, PARIS 1791 - 1834 VERSAILLES
Oil on canvas
69 x 54,5 cm ; 27 1/4 by 21 1/2 in.
Private Collection

Maria Malibran (24 March 1808 – 23 September 1836) entered the world in 1808 with an uncommonly interesting backstory and set of genes. Her father, the famous tenor Manuel Garcia; her Spanish mother was a more minor opera singer. Garcia was a spectacular singer, a brilliant teacher, and a manic brute. Determined to make his daughter into one of the planet’s most brilliant vocalists, he battered and terrorized her regularly in service to this aim. She had a miraculous voice by the time she made her debut at a London concert at 16. 

Having made a strong start on fame, Maria began working her way toward notoriety. Her first taste of fame and her experiences with Garcia combined to make the attentions of a mild, middle-aged French businessman, Eugène Malibran, seem very acceptable. In 1826 she married him. Dissatisfaction followed soon enough.

She resumed her career in Paris in 1828, which brought her the frantic adulation that would follow her for the rest of her flamelike life, and the sobriquet La Malibran. When not performing or rehearsing, she was partying or thrilling onlookers with her skills as a dashing equestrienne. She created many of her iconic Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti roles during this period. 

La Malibran’s conduct would not qualify her as a Shady Lady but for one event: In 1829, scandalously separated from her husband, she fell in love with Charles de Bériot, a violinist. Love led to pregnancy and a son, born well before she managed to obtain an annulment and marry de Bériot in 1836. Despite the abundant publicity around these events, she did not lose her public’s love and was widely mourned when her premature death came that same year, the result of a riding accident and probable head injury. More on Maria Malibran

DUBOIS-DRAHONET, Alexandre-Jean, (b. 1791, Paris, d. 1829, Versailles) was a French painter. Born and raised in Paris, Alexandre Dubois-Drahonet was a student and disciple of Neo-classical French master, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and first exhibited at the Salon in 1822. The young artist painted the future Queen of England (Queen Victoria) when a girl, commissioned by William IV in 1832 as part of a much larger commission of some ninety portraits of officers and soldiers in uniform (now in the Royal Collection, Windsor). It was part of the commission to paint a series of pictures illustrating recent changes in the uniforms and weapons of the British Army.

The artist also worked for Charles X, painting a portrait of his grandson, Henri, duke of Bordeaux (now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux) and also worked for Louis-Philippe when duke of Orléans and after his accession. More on DUBOIS-DRAHONET

François Bouchot, (1800–1842)
Title Portrait de la Malibran en Desdémone, c. 1831
Oil on canvas
Musée de la vie romantique

Portrait by François Bouchot (1800-1842) of the famous singer Maria Malibran, known as "La Malibran" (1808-1836) that sang Alfred de Musset in famous Stanzas. It is represented in the role of Desdemona in 1834 she sang in Rossini's Othello.

François Bouchot (1800–1842), a painter and engraver, was born in Paris in 1800. He studied engraving under Richomme, and then became a pupil of Regnault, and subsequently of Lethière, and obtained the 'grand prix de Rome' in 1823. He exhibited at the Salon from 1824 till his death, which occurred in Paris in 1842. A 'Drunken Silenus' by him is in the Lille Gallery, and the 'Burial of General Marceau ' in the Mairie at Chartres. He was also celebrated for his portraits. More on François Bouchot

Édouard Vuillard, 1868 - 1940
Pastel on paper
19 3/4 by 25 1/2 in., 50.1 by 64.7 cm
Executed in 1927. 
Private Collection

The sitter is Gabrielle Jonas, wife of Édouard Jonas, an antique dealer. She is seated in the living room of Jos and Lucy Hessel at 33 rue de Naples, a location partially identifiable by the paintings behind her, most of them presumably obtained by Jos Hessel through his business as director of the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery owned by his cousins Gaston and Josse Bernheim.

 Vuillard portrayed Jonas in a series of works in both pastel and, oil—eleven works center on her, and she appears with other figures in at least two additional images. More on Gabrielle Jonas

Jean-Édouard Vuillard (11 November 1868 – 21 June 1940) was a French painter and printmaker associated with the Nabis. The son of a retired captain, he spent his youth at Cuiseaux (Saône-et-Loire); in 1878 his family moved to Paris in modest circumstances. After his father's death in 1884, Vuillard received a scholarship to continue his education. In the Lycée Condorcet Vuillard met Ker Xavier Roussel (also a future painter and Vuillard's future brother in law), Maurice Denis, musician Pierre Hermant, writer Pierre Véber, and Lugné-Poe.

Vuillard was a member of the Symbolist group known as Les Nabis (from the Hebrew and Arabic term for "prophets" and, by extension, the artist as the "seer" who reveals the invisible). However, he was less drawn to the mystical aspects of the group and more drawn to fashionable private venues where philosophical discussions about poetry, music, theatre, and the occult occurred. Because of his preference for the painting of interior and domestic scenes, he is often referred to as an "intimist," along with his friend Pierre Bonnard. He executed some of these "intimist" works in small scale, while others were conceived on a much larger scale made for the interiors of the people who commissioned the work. More Jean-Édouard Vuillard

Lilla Cabot Perry, (1848–1933)
The Green Hat, c. 1913
Oil on canvas
Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1987.25

Lilla Cabot Perry (January 13, 1848 – February 28, 1933) was an American artist who worked in the American Impressionist style, rendering portraits and landscapes in the free form manner of her mentor, Claude Monet. Perry was an early advocate of the French Impressionist style and contributed to its reception in the United States. Perry's early work was shaped by her exposure to the Boston School of artists and her travels in Europe and Japan. She was also greatly influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson's philosophies and her friendship with Camille Pissarro. Although it was not until the age of thirty-six that Perry received formal training, her work with artists of the Impressionist, Realist, Symbolist, and German Social Realist movements greatly affected the style of her oeuvre. More Lilla Cabot Perry

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