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Louis-Philippe-Joseph duc de Montpensier, later the duc d'Orléans (1747 - 1793)

Artist or maker:
Boucher, François (b.1703, d.1770)
Date:
1749
Place of production:
Paris, France
Medium:
oil on canvas
Type of object:
paintings
Accession number:
481

Commentary

The two-year-old future Duc d'Orléans, known during the French Revolution as Philippe-Egalité, is shown surrounded by toys and dressed in sumptuous clothes. François Boucher is much better known for his depictions of Madame de Pompadour than for this child portrait, rendered in unusual greys and rich greens. Boucher's portrait provided a model for François-Hubert Drouais's later portrait of two young future kings of France.

The fleur-de-lis on the bonnet and rattle identify the child as a member of the royal family. Louis-Philippe was a member of the second most powerful family in France, descended from the brother of King Louis XIV of France. The rich green drapery, plumed bonnet and confident grasp of the horse’s ribbons are reminiscent of portraits of adult kings and princes.

The steely grey-blues and greens are enlivened by the colours of the expensive, luxury toys: the coral rattle handle; the rocking horses's bows; the pink cheeks of the exotic doll and the ribbon around the toy cat's neck. The playing card constructions and the delicate flowers of the robe suggest something of the fragility of childhood.

Boucher's portrait must have been known to other artists. In 1757, François-Hubert Drouais (1727-1755) painted a double portrait of the infant children of the Dauphin: Louis, Duc de Berry, and Louis, Comte de Provence, (later Louis XVI and Louis XVIII), now São Paulo Museum of Art, Brazil. The Comte de Provence wears a very similar bonnet and plays with a basket of fruit whilst the Duc de Berry holds a spaniel by a ribbon, motifs clearly derived from Boucher's earlier work.

Boucher himself painted another smaller oval portrait of Louis-Philippe from the same study showing him eating soup (private collection). He wears the same bonnet and rattle, but his elaborate dress is covered with a cloth to keep it clean. This oval portrait emphasises how Boucher attempted to include a sense of every-day life into his formal portraiture, hinted at by the toys in the Waddesdon example.

François Boucher (1703-1770) was a highly successful painter, as well as being the friend and protégé of Madame de Pompadour, the influential mistress of Louis XV of France. Boucher painted her portrait many times. These portraits combine the sensuality of his mythological paintings, the pastoral qualities of this landscapes as well as his intimate scenes of modern life. Boucher used a similar approach in his portrait of Pompadour's daughter, Alexandrine-Jeanne, also painted in 1749. The young girl, with flowing locks, stands before a yellow curtain feeding a caged bird. In his portrait of Louis-Philippe, Boucher combined his interests in theatricality and the every-day evident in Alexandrine-Jeanne's portrait with the more formal and heroic style of portraiture required by the powerful Orléans family.

Phillippa Plock, 2011

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
908 x 724
900 x approx 700 - sight
Signature & date:
signed and dated, lower left: ƒ. Boucher / 1749
Labels:
James de Rothschild
Boucher: Portrait de Philippe
d'Orleans - enfant
CHEFS-D'OEUVRE
DE
L'ART FRANCAIS
175
Printed label
[verso, on stretcher, centre right, printed and handwritten in pencil label]

Exhibition of.....[Chefs d'oeuvre de l'art francais]
Name.....[James A. de Rothschild Esq.]
Title ....[Portrait of Philippe D'Orleans]
No. ..[50]
CHENUE
Exhibition agent and Packer
10, Great St. Andrews Street,
Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2.
Printed label
[verso, on frame, upper left, printed and typed label]

BOUCHER (Francois)
Portrait d'une enfant de France.
Il est agé de deux ans, vetu de blanc, assis au milieu de jouets: il tient de la main gauche la bride d'un cheval de bois, et sur ses genoux un joujou qui figure un chat; des cartes sont...
Printed label
[verso, on frame, upper left, torn label]

53
Label
[verso, on stretcher, lower left, round label]

West Hall left of fire place
Label
[verso, on frame and stretcher, two labels, handwritten in ink]

History

Provenance:
Sold in an anonymous sale, 21-22 December 1846, lot no. 3, for 785 francs, as 'Un grand tableau, représentant une jeune fille qui est entourée de jouets. La fleur de lys placé dans la coiffure indique que ce doit être le portrait de l'un des enfants de France...'; acquired by Léon, Marquis de Laborde (b.1807, d.1869) before 1860; acquired by Laperlier in 1860; sold in the Laperlier sale, Paris, 11-13 April 1867, lot no. 1, for 1,560 francs, as 'C'est le portrait présumé de Louis-Philippe Joseph (Egalité), à l'âge de deux ans...'; acquired by the Marquis de Lau by 1874; acquired by Charles Pillet (active Circa 1860-1919) by 1878; acquired by Baron Arthur de Rothschild (b.1851, d.1903); acquired by Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922) before 1906; inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); bequeathed to Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) in 1957.
Exhibition history:
Chez Martinet, Paris, 1860, lent M. * * (M. Laperlier)

'Tableaux et dessins de l'école française, principalement du XVIIIe siècle, tirés des collections d'Amateurs', (Deuxième exposition), Paris, 26 bd des Italiens, 1860, no. 344, lent marquis de La Borde

'Alsace-Lorraine Exposition', Paris, Palais de la Présidence du Corps législatif au profit de l'Algérie, 1874, no. 22, lent marquis du Lau

'Tableaux anciens et modernes exposés au profit du Musée des Arts Décoratifs', Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais des Tuileries, Pavillon de Flore, 1878, no. 17, lent Charles Pillet

Winter Exhibition, Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1936-37, no. 27, lent by James de Rothschild

'Chefs d'oeuvre de l'art français', Paris, Palais National des Arts, 1937, no. 131, lent by James de Rothschild
Collection:
Waddesdon (National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957

Bibliography

Bibliography

Albert de La Fizelière, Catalogue des Tableaux de l'Ecole Française, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 8, 1860; p. 235; '... une portrait d'enfant assez lourd, daté 1740'
Edmond de Goncourt, Jules de Goncourt; L’art du dix-huitième siècle; 2 vols; Paris; A Quantin; 1880-1882; p. 186
Paul Mantz; François Boucher, Lemoyne et Natoire; Paris; A Quantin; 1880; p. 139
André Michel; F. Boucher: Les artistes célèbres; Paris; Librairie de l'art; 1889; p. 111
André Michel, C Masson, M L Soullié; François Boucher; Paris; H Piazza; 1906; nos 1028, 1058, pl. 48
Pierre de Nolhac; Boucher: premier peintre du roi.; Paris; H Floury; 1925; p. 170
Chefs-d'oeuvre de l'art français; Paris; Editions des Musées Nationaux; 1937; vol. 1, no. 102
Cent trente chefs-d'oeuvre de l'art français du Moyen-Age au XXe siècle; Paris; Arts et métiers graphiques; 1937; no. 131, pl. 63
Ellis Waterhouse, The Winter Exhibition at the Burlington Fine Arts Club, The Burlington Magazine, January 1937, 44-46; p. 45, ill.
Michael Levey, French and Italian Paintings at Waddesdon, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 54, August 1959, 57-66; p. 59, fig. 4
Anita Brookner, French Pictures at Waddesdon, The Burlington Magazine, 101, 1959, 271-273; p. 271
Sir Francis Watson, The Art Collections at Waddesdon Manor I: The Paintings, Apollo, 69, June 1959, 172-182; p. 182, fig. 18
Michael Levey; Rococo to Revolution; London; Thames & Hudson; 1966; p. 107, ill.
Ellis Waterhouse, Anthony Blunt; Paintings: The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor; Fribourg; Office du Livre, The National Trust; 1967; p. 216, cat. no. 94, ill.
Alexandre Ananoff; Francois Boucher; vol. 2; Paris; La Bibliothèque des Arts; 1976; pp. 30-31, no. 332, ill.
Alastair Laing, Playful Perfection: Boucher in Britain, Country Life, 05 June 1986; fig. 4
FMR International; No 118; Milan; FMR Editore s.p.a; October 2002; pp. 125-26
Jeanne Faton, Waddesdon Manor: joyau des collections anglaises, L'Estampille. L' Objet d'Art, September 2002; p. 95
Maurice Leloir; Histoire du Costume de L'Antiquité à 1914; Book XI 1725-1774; Paris; Societe de l'Histoire du Costume-Amis du musee Galliera; 2007; p. 4 of colour plates

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