A painting by Jean-François de Troy joins its pendant in Berlin

Jean-François de Troy (1679-1752)
A Woman Reading, 1723
Oil on canvas - 35 x 27 cm
Berlin, Gemäldegalerie
Photo : Galerie de Bayser

22/9/08 — Acquisition — Berlin, Gemäldegalerie — The Gemäldegalerie in Berlin has acquired a small oil on canvas by Jean-François de Troy representing A Woman Reading, for which the museum already holds the pendant, Young Woman Drinking Coffee, from the Bayser Gallery in Paris. This new acquisition was until now known only from an engraving by Jacques Chéreau. These two works will thus be reunited after having being separated for over two hundred years. They were still together when the Jean de Julienne collection was sold on 30 March 1767 but were separated already in 1790 at the sale of the collection belonging to the Comte d’Orsay in which only the Young Woman Drinking Coffee appeared. There was no trace of A Woman Reading after March 1810 when it had come up for auction in Paris.

It is not known if Jean de Julienne acquired these two works directly from Jean-François de Troy. In his monographic study on the artist [1], Christophe Leribault notes that he had probably been in touch with the collector before 1723, when the pendants were executed. François de Troy, Jean-François’ father, had in fact painted a portrait of Julienne in 1722 which today is held at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes.
Whereas the Young Woman Drinking Coffee is more reminiscent of Watteau as pointed out by the Goncourt brothers (“Like Watteau, a very warm Watteau, minus the small square stroke”), A Woman Reading is closer to certain Dutch painters such as Gerrit Dou. This Northern European touch no doubt influenced the collector in his choice as he already owned many Dutch and Flemish paintings.

In concluding, we would like to underline the fact that this latest acquisition enriches an already sizeable collection of works by Jean-François de Troy in Berlin and Potsdam (a total of about ten canvases).

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 22 septembre 2008


[1] Christophe Leribault, Jean-François de Troy 1679-1752, Paris, 2002, p. 265.

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