Nicolas de LARGILLIERRE (Paris, 1656-1746)

Lot 129
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Estimation :
60000 - 80000 EUR
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Result : 206 080EUR
Nicolas de LARGILLIERRE (Paris, 1656-1746)
Portrait of painter Pierre Parrocel (1670-1739) Canvas, enlarged at top by 4 cm Carved and gilded limewood frame, 17th-century Rhône Valley work, recut and gilded. Height: 93 cm Width : 73 cm Frame marks on all four sides. On the reverse of the canvas, an inscription probably repeating an old signature on the back of the original canvas: 'peint par n de Largillierre. / 1732' On the stretcher, ink inscription 'ponce' Eighteenth-century label '... de France'. Related work: Another version is in the Musée Calvet, Avignon. Bibliography: G Brunel, La peinture française du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle Catalogue raisonné of the Musée Calvet d'Avignon, Silvana éditoriale, 2015, p.81 Etienne-Antoine Parrocel (1817-1898), custodian of the family archives, wrote biographies of the painters in his family in 1861. According to the handwritten catalog of his collection, preserved in the documentation of the Musée Calvet (folio 141), our painting is the original by Largillière and is owned by M. Poncet, and that of the Calvet is a replica identical in every respect to ours (Brunel, op. cit.). This "Poncet" provenance is confirmed by the ink inscription on the frame. During his long career as a portraitist of the Parisian nobility and bourgeoisie, Nicolas de Largillière also enjoyed depicting his fellow artists, leaving portraits of them in their studios. These include Portrait de René Frémin (formerly identified with Nicolas Coustou) at the Gemäldegalderie in Berlin, Thomas Germain et sa femme (Lisbon, Fondation Calouste S. Gulbenkian Foundation) and his own self-portraits, such as the one at the National Gallery of Art in Washington (1707) and the Château de Versailles (1711). Many of them feature elements reminiscent of their condition: an easel or working tools, often with statuettes in the background. A member of the Parrocel dynasty of painters, Pierre made his career in his native Avignon. Trained by his uncle Joseph Parrocel between 1685 and 1688, then in Rome in Carlo Maratta's circle between 1689 and 1692, he worked for private individuals as well as for confraternities and churches, creating large altarpieces and entire cycles, including the Histoire de Tobie between 1733 and 1738 for the Hôtel de Noailles in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, (now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Marseille). He returned to Rome in 1695, 1699 and 1719. This did not prevent him from returning to Paris several times, first in October 1730 to be accepted by the Académie, then in 1732 for the wedding of his son Pierre Ignace. This portrait was painted on one of these dates. He returned one last time in the summer of 1738 to deliver his final commissions. The painter wears a brown velvet suit and embroidered vest, enhanced by lace sleeves and ruffle, and has dressed to the point that the powder from his wig has fallen to his shoulders. He asserts his status as an artist with the pencil holder in his hand. The Annunciation, seen on his easel at the back of the picture, reminds us that he painted this subject on several occasions. His works on this theme are exhibited in several Provencal churches: Sainte-Marthe de Tarascon, Saint-Pierre de Rognonas, Saint-Césaire in Arles and the Nativité-de-Marie in Graveson. In Avignon, there are three altarpieces on the same theme: the first in Saint-Symphorien-des-Carmes, the second in the sacristy of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-des-Doms in Avignon and the third in the Musée Calvet. However, a very similar composition can be seen in the background of Largillière's 1711 self-portrait (Versailles). On a shelf to the right, casts of sculptures of children at play, a frequent motif in Largillière's work, may serve as models for the painter depicted. We would like to thank Dominique Brème for confirming the autograph nature of this painting. He will include it in the Catalog raisonné of Largillierre's work.
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