Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte (1778–1851), Daughter of Louis XVI
Jacques Joseph de Gault (French, 1738–after 1812)
Diameter 2 3/8 in. (60 mm)
Bequest of Millie Bruhl Fredrick, 1962
Not on view
The Artist: Jacques Joseph de Gault worked for two years at Sèvres from 1760 and was received into the Académie de Saint-Luc in 1774; he exhibited there until 1787. He was the first artist to paint imitations of antique gems in grisaille for the decoration of snuffboxes. He also painted many portraits in miniature from the life. Some of these are listed by Carlo Jeannerat ("De Gault et Gault de Saint-Germain,” Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de l’Art Français , pp. 221–35).
From 1831 J. J. de Gault was confounded in the dictionaries with Pierre Marie de Gault de Saint Germain (1754–1842). This confusion was fueled by the belief that his signature JJDeGault, with two Js either separate or interlaced, should be read as PMDeGault. In 1935 Jeannerat rectified this error (which had been followed by Thieme-Becker) and restored J. J. de Gault to his rightful place in the history of the miniature. This rehabilitation did not become widely known, as witnessed by Leo R. Schidlof (The Miniature in Europe, Graz, 1964, vol. 1, p. 284).
The Miniature: A similar miniature in grisaille en camaïeu on a blue ground, signed Sauvage (Piat Joseph Sauvage, 1744-1818), was sold at Christie's, London, on October 17, 1995, no. 28, ill. In that work Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte is shown with her younger brother, Louis, the dauphin, both children facing left. Margaret A. Oppenheimer (2005) mentions another miniature by Sauvage nearly identical to The Met's likeness that was in the collection of the marquis de Villefranche in 1913 along with related miniatures of other members of the royal family. She believes that an engraving (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) in which Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte and the dauphin face each other inside a circular medallion is probably based on the Sauvage portraits and supposes that The Met's miniature was painted after it, but does not include the dauphin, as he died in 1795.
Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte, born at Versailles, was imprisoned with other members of the royal family in the Temple in 1791. After the executions of her parents, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, in 1793, she came to be known as the Orphan of the Temple, where she remained until—on December 26, 1795—she was exchanged for several French political prisoners held in Austria by her uncle Francis II. She was then permitted to travel to Vienna. In 1799 she married her first cousin Louis Antoine (1775–1844), duke of Angoulême, son of the future Charles X.
[2016; adapted from Reynolds and Baetjer 1996]
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed (in black): (bottom) JJDegault 1795; (edge) Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte. fille de Louis XVI. née le 19 Decembre 1778.
Mrs. Leopold (Millie Bruhl) Fredrick, New York (by 1960–d. 1962; inv., 1960, no. 72)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Eighteenth-Century Woman," December 12, 1981–September 5, 1982, unnumbered cat. (p. 60, as by Pierre Marie Gault de St. Germain).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "European Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 5, 1996–January 5, 1997, no. 74.
Northampton, Mass. Smith College Museum of Art. "The French Portrait: Revolution to Restoration," September 30–December 11, 2005, no. 22.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "In Miniature," August 29–December 28, 2014, no catalogue.
Edward Grosvenor Paine. Inventory of the miniatures in the Fredrick collection. 1960, p. 10, no. 72, as by J. V. de Gault, working 1779–95.
Graham Reynolds with the assistance of Katharine Baetjer. European Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1996, pp. 11, 13, 104, 108, 150, no. 74, colorpl. 74 and ill. p. 105, note that until recently the artist had been confounded in literature with Pierre Marie de Gault de Saint Germain, but state that there is no doubt that the inscription on this work refers to Jacques Joseph de Gault; mention a similar miniature by Piat Joseph Sauvage (sold, Christie's, London, October 17, 1995, no. 28, ill.) where the sitter is shown with her younger brother, Louis, the dauphin, both children facing left.
Margaret A. Oppenheimer. The French Portrait: Revolution to Restoration. Exh. cat., Smith College Museum of Art. Northampton, Mass., 2005, pp. 92–95, 212, no. 22, ill. (color), mentions a nearly identical likeness by Sauvage in the collection of the marquis de Villefranche in 1913 along with related miniatures of other members of the royal family; states that an engraving (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) in which Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte and the dauphin face each other inside a circular medallion is probably based on the Sauvage portraits and supposes that The Met's miniature was painted after it, but does not include Louis, as he died in 1795.
Gerrit Walczak. "Low Art, Popular Imagery and Civic Commitment in the French Revolution." Art History 30 (April 2007), pp. 269–70, 277 n. 111, pl. 5.17.