Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Presumed Portrait of Mme. de Genlis Playing a Harp (1746 - 1830) 1791

Francois Guerin 

Presumed Portrait of Mme. de Genlis Playing a Harp (1746 - 1830), Francois Guerin
Pastel on paper
18th Century
18 x 15 in 45.7 x 38.1 cm
Private Collection, Paris
A number of portraits of Mme. de Genlis have survived. These usually show her with the musical instrument with which she is particularly associated, the harp. The most famous of these is by Giroust, which shows her with Adelaide, the daughter of the Duke d'Orleans, and her own daughter, Pamela. There are also portraits of her by Vestier, Carmontelle, Myris, Hubert Robert, Romney and others. From the hairstyle and dress, Guerin’s portrait can be dated to the first few years of the 1770''s, when Mme. de Genlis was at the height of her powers and attractions.

Guerin’s connections with the French court began with his association with Mme. de Pompadour in the 1750''s and 60''s. Two drawings in coloured chalks at the Albertina in Vienna, similar in technique to this sheet, are dedicated to this great patroness of the arts. The sparkling use of colour and free elegant chalk strokes are the best in the Rococo manner. Further drawings by Guerin of this type are in the E.B.Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento and in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris.
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