Jean Marc Nattier (1685–1766)

Louis Tocqué French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 632

Tocqué’s image depicts Jean Marc Nattier, a very fashionable portrait painter, working at his easel. Tocqué studied with Nattier in the 1720s and married Nattier’s daughter in 1747. While the face is brought to a high degree of resolution, the sitter’s hands, palette, and clothing are left deliberately unfinished, evoking the artistic process and creativity before the canvas. This spirited sketch probably dates to about 1740, and it served as the inspiration for Tocqué’s reception piece, signed and dated 1762, for the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Acceptance into several academies in different European capitals attested to an artist’s international reputation and clientele.

Jean Marc Nattier (1685–1766), Louis Tocqué (French, 1696–1772), Oil on canvas

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