This portrait comes from the last years that Rigaud accepted commissions from sitters of relatively modest social standing. He would soon paint almost exclusively for the court, including two of the most iconic portraits depicting Louis XIV. This distinguished man’s identity remains unknown, but the size and format were a way to purchase a work that included the features for which Rigaud was celebrated—the soft lighting, undulating curls, and shifting surface of shot silk—at a lesser cost.
Use your arrow keys to navigate the tabs below, and your tab key to choose an item
Dimensions:Oval, 32 1/2 x 25 3/4 in. (82.6 x 65.4 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of Catherine D. Wentworth, 1948
The wig and the elegant costume—the jewel, fine lace, embroidered coat, and velvet drapery—are appropriate to the date and slightly informal, suggesting wealth but no specific rank or position. The palette is typical. There are five clients in Rigaud’s list of works for the year 1693 alone of whose appearance we know nothing, and for this reason it is impossible to suggest which, if in fact any of them, might have been the sitter (James-Sarazin 2012). According to Perreau (2012), the phrase "fait par hyacinthe Rigaud" combined with a date, and painted on the reverse, is not a signature but marks receipt of payment and release of the portrait from the artist’s studio. The price for an oval portrait of this size would have been between 120 and 200 livres.
Katharine Baetjer 2012
Inscription: Inscribed and dated (reverse, now covered by a lining canvas, but photographed in 1942): fait par hyacinthe Rigaud / 1693 [underlined]
Mrs. Edward Spencer (Catherine D.) Wentworth, Paris, later Santa Barbara, Calif. (by 1937–d. 1948)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Eighteenth-Century Woman," December 12, 1981–September 5, 1982, unnumbered cat. (p. 51).
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 84.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 366, ill., as "Portrait of a Man, Possibly François de Chambrier (1663–1730)".
Stéphan Perreau. Letter. September 9, 2012, suggests that the sitter for this autograph 1693 portrait by Rigaud might be Hilaire Rouillé de Coudray (1651–1729), an official in the royal finance administration.
Ariane James-Sarazin. Letter. September 8, 2012, accepts the inscribed date, 1693, on the reverse, and calls the portrait autograph, but declines to suggest who might be the sitter, rejecting two proposals made by George Van Derveer Gallenkamp in his unpublished manuscripts at the Frick Art Reference Library, New York; observes that the price for a portrait of this size would have been less than 200 livres.
Stéphan Perreau. Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659–1743): Catalogue concis de l'œuvre. Sète, 2013, p. 105, no. P.339, ill.
Ariane James-Sarazin with the collaboration of Jean-Yves Sarazin. Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1659–1743. Dijon, 2016, vol. 1, ill. p. 442 (color); vol. 2, pp. 131, 292, no. P.381, ill. (color).
Stéphan Perreau. "Hilaire Rouillé du Coudray." Hyacinthe Rigaud: Catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre. 2016, unpaginated, ill. (color) [http://www.hyacinthe-rigaud.com/catalogue-raisonne-hyacinthe-rigaud/portraits/420-rouille-du-coudray-hilaire], identifies the sitter as Hilaire Rouillé du Coudray; cites a payment entered in a 1693 accounting book for 120 livres (ms. 624, f. 9: "Mons[ieu]r Rouillé du Coudray").
Neil Jeffares. Minutiae at the Met. March 29, 2019, unpaginated [https://neiljeffares.wordpress.com/2019/03/29/minutiae-at-the-met/], notes, as had James-Sarazin, that Gallenkamp proposed the sitter might be Nicolas Collin de Vermont.
Katharine Baetjer. French Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art from the Early Eighteenth Century through the Revolution. New York, 2019, pp. 40–41, no. 3, ill. (color), fig. 3.1 (inscription and date on back).
This work may not be lent, by terms of its acquisition by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can connect to the most up-to-date data and public domain images for The Met collection. Open Access data and public domain images are available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.
We continue to research and examine historical and cultural context for objects in The Met collection. If you have comments or questions about this object record, please complete and submit this form. The Museum looks forward to receiving your comments.