A portrait by Duplessis acquired by Ottawa

Joseph-Sieffred Duplessis (1725-1802)
Portrait of Monsieur de Buissy, c. 1780
Oil on canvas - 116 x 88.5 cm
Ottawa, Museum of Fine Arts
Photo : All rights reserved

27/10/09 – Acquisition – Ottawa, Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada – The Canadian museum has acquired the Portrait of Monsieur de Bussy by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis (ill.) from the Colnaghi Gallery in London [1]. The model, a nobleman from Picardy, was a lieutenant in the Gardes Françaises and served as hunting master for the Count of Artois, the future Charles X. His date of birth varies according to sources but was around 1740. This portrait seems to be of him in his forties, situating it in the 1780’s. Rachel Dadouit, who is preparing the catalogue on the artist, dates it between 1784-1785 [2].

Although he was also a historical painter, Duplessis essentially did portraits and worked mainly at the court in Versailles where he produced notably one of Louis XVI’s official portraits. He favored the special effects of beautiful fabrics and paid great care in evoking the psychology of his models. The work acquired by Ottawa does however seem perplexing as concerns the model’s attitude, reflecting a nobleman confident of his rank, just a few years before the Revolution which he would not live to see as he died two years earlier, in 1787.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 27 octobre 2009


[1] This painting had come up for sale in Paris at Millon & Associés on 18 June 2008 where it had been auctioned for 324,000€ (including charges).

[2] According to the statement presenting the work sent to us by the Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada.

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