Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Portrait of a Young Woman

Artist:
Attributed to Jean Antoine Laurent (French, 1763–1832)
Date:
ca. 1795
Medium:
Ivory
Dimensions:
Octagonal, 2 3/8 x 2 7/8 in. (63 x 73 mm)
Classification:
Miniatures
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Louis V. Bell, in memory of her husband, 1925
Accession Number:
25.106.16
Not on view
The miniature entered The Met as by Mortier (see 25.106.15), an attribution with which Nathlie Lemoine-Bouchard (2003) concurred. In 1952 Leo R. Schidlof (unpublished opinion) thought it a fine and typical though unsigned work of Jean Antoine Laurent. Bodo Hofstetter (1995) did not agree with this attribution; however, it seems to be borne out by comparing this miniature with that of a young man carving his initials on a tree, signed with Laurent's initial and dated 1791 (Leo R. Schidlof, The Miniature in Europe, Graz, 1964, vol. 1, p. 471; vol. 4, pl. 338, fig. 688, from the Bléhaut collection, Bourg-Argental). While the present example demonstrates Laurent's skill with landscape backgrounds, it does not support Schidlof's claim (1964, vol. 1, p. 470) that this artist's miniatures are "faultless in drawing and in expression with an exceptional sense of colour."

Born in Baccarat, Laurent became a pupil of Jean François Durand (born 1731) and of Jean-Baptiste Charles Claudot (1733–1805) in Nancy. He began to exhibit from Paris at the Salon of 1791, and was subsequently patronized by Empress Joséphine, Queen Hortense, Louis XVIII, and the duchess of Berry. He died of apoplexy brought on by the announcement that he had been made a chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur in 1832.

[2016; adapted from Reynolds and Baetjer 1996]
The gilt metal frame is glazed at back to reveal an ivory backing decorated with pansies, leaves, and a bowknot, all fashioned from two types of hair, one brown and one fair. The miniature has been extended at the far right edge, apparently by the artist. The handling is characterized by the extensive use of blue for the shading of flesh tones. Both front and back are in excellent condition.

[2016; adapted from Reynolds and Baetjer 1996]
Mrs. Louis V. Bell (until 1925)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "European Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 5, 1996–January 5, 1997, no. 91.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "In Miniature," August 29–December 28, 2014, no catalogue.

Bodo Hofstetter. Letter to Katharine Baetjer. June 19, 1995, calls it certainly not by Laurent, but of the period.

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. 10, 113–14, 150, no. 91, colorpl. 91 and ill. p. 113, state that the attribution to Laurent "seems to be borne out by comparing this miniature with that of a young man carving his initials on a tree, signed with Laurent's initial and dated 1791" (Bléhaut collection, Bourg-Argental).

Nathalie Lemoine-Bouchard. Letter to Katharine Baetjer. November 24, 2003, rejects the attribution to Laurent, but suggests it is by Mortier, who made a pendant.



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