Conformity rather than individuality was a hallmark of Nattier’s enormous success portraying French aristocratic women: his innumerable portraits represent contrasting ivory skin and bright blush, powdered hair and soft features set against warm landscapes. This late work, signed and dated on the tree trunk, includes a lively array of flowers; a bright blue ribbon accentuates the woman’s bare neck and shoulders. Nattier made several adjustments to the position of the ribbon and hair, now visible as faint hallows or pentimenti showing through the paint surface.
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Title:Portrait of a Woman
Artist:Jean Marc Nattier (French, Paris 1685–1766 Paris)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:31 1/2 x 25 1/4 in. (80 x 64.1 cm), with later additions of 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm) at bottom, 1 in. (2.5 cm) at left, and 1/2 in. (1.3 cm) at right
Credit Line:The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982
Florimonde Parat de Montgeron (1740–1788) married Jean Claude François Perrin, marquis de Cypierre (1727–1789), a member of the Grand Conseil from 1747 who was appointed Intendant of the King in Orléans in 1760. In the latter capacity Cypierre was responsible for the finances of the généralité of Orléans. He also speculated in Paris real estate and was both well placed and evidently very rich. Nothing is known of his wife. The couple had a son, called Adrien Philibert, in 1759. Their grandson Casimir was a well-known collector of eighteenth-century art who may have owned the picture at his death in 1844. However, these are suppositions, based on circumstantial evidence: in the Casimir Perrin de Cypierre sale catalogue there is a description which could apply to the present painting, but even if the identification is correct, the sitter is not named.
This portrait, signed and dated 1753, is a late work. While the palette is typical, the format, with the shelf or railing in the foreground supporting a basket of closely observed and carefully painted flowers, is unusual. The young woman's high color, forthright gaze, and very tightly curled hair are highly individual.
Katharine Baetjer 2011
Inscription: Signed and dated (center left, on tree trunk): [N]attier. p. x. / 1753
?Casimir Florimonde Joseph Perrin de Cypierre, Paris (until d. 1844; his estate sale, Paris, March 10 ff., 1845, no. 91 as "Jeune femme tenant des fleurs dans ses deux mains. Elle est vue de trois quarts sur un fond de paysage. Robe blanche décolletée, léger châle de soie bleue, noué sur le sein," for Fr 295); ?Mrs. Isabella Maria Malton, London (until 1892; her estate sale, Christie's, London, March 10, 1892, no. 167, as "Portrait of a Lady, with a basket of flowers," for £106.1.0); Charles Fairfax Murray, London (by 1905–10; sold to Imbert); [Alexandre Imbert, Rome, 1910; sold to Morgan]; J. Pierpont Morgan, London (1910–d. 1913); J. P. Morgan, London and Wall Hall, Aldenham, Hertfordshire (1913–d. 1943; inv., 1917; inv., 1937; his estate sale, Christie's, London, March 31, 1944, no. 138, for 3045 gns. to Koetser for Linsky); Mr. and Mrs. Jack Linsky, New York (1944–his d.1980); The Jack and Belle Linsky Foundation, New York (1980–82)
London. Thos. Agnew & Sons. "Eleventh Annual Exhibition on Behalf of the Artists' General Benevolent Institution," November–December 1905, no. 1 (as "La Marquise Perrin de Cypierre: daughter of the Duc de Vienne, wife of the Intendant of the King [Louis XV.] and Governor of Orleans").
Paris. Jeu de Paume. "Cent portraits de femmes," April 23–July 1, 1909, no. 83 (as "Portrait de femme," lent by Fairfax Murray).
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
Pierre de Nolhac. J.-M. Nattier: Peintre de la cour de Louis XV. Paris, 1905, p. 130 [1910 ed., p. 217].
"Three Exhibitions: Messrs. Agnew's Gallery." Athenæum no. 4072 (November 11, 1905), p. 653, calls it "brilliant, but rather uninteresting".
G. Brière. "Catalogue critique des œuvres d'artistes français réunies à l'exposition de cent portraits de femmes du XVIIIe siècle." Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art Français (1909), pp. 135–36, wonder why the title "Portrait de Mme de Cypierre" was omitted from most editions of the catalogue.
Armand Dayot et al. Maitres du XVIIIe siècle: Cent portraits de femmes des écoles anglaise & française. Paris, , pp. VIII, no. 83, ill., cited as both "Mme de Cypierre" and "Portrait de Femme".
Katharine Baetjer inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1983–1984. New York, 1984, p. 59, ill. (color).
Katharine Baetjer inThe Jack and Belle Linsky Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, pp. 115–16, no. 43, ill. (color).
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 370, ill., as "Portrait of a Woman, Called the Marquise Perrin de Cypierre".
Xavier Salmon. Jean-Marc Nattier, 1685–1766. Exh. cat., Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon. Paris, 1999, p. 308.
Xavier Salmon. "Le musée idéal." Dossier de l'art no. 62 (November 1999), p. 62, colorpl. 9.
Neil Jeffares. Minutiae at the Met. March 29, 2019, unpaginated [https://neiljeffares.wordpress.com/2019/03/29/minutiae-at-the-met/], provides additional genealogical information (the Cypierre marriage contract was signed on August 18, 1752; the marquis died on July 18, 1790, according to the parish register, Mont-Dore, Puy-de-Dôme).
Katharine Baetjer. French Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art from the Early Eighteenth Century through the Revolution. New York, 2019, pp. 88–89, no. 18, ill. (color).
This work may not be lent, by terms of its acquisition by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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