The Duchesse de Choiseul as Diana
- Jean-Baptiste Oudry (French, 1686-1755)
- c. 1704
- Oil on canvas
- 54-1/2 x 42-1/4 in. (138.4 x 107.3 cm)
- Credit Line:
- The Norton Simon Foundation
- Accession Number:
- © The Norton Simon Foundation
When this painting was purchased by Duveens from Comtesse Jacques de Sieyas de Veynes in 1954, it was attributed to Nicolas de Largillière, Oudry’s teacher. Its composition is very similar to a smaller work at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University: the latter picture lacks the dog, and the sitter holds a bow rather than a sword. More importantly, the Fogg painting is attributed to Mignard, an unlikely possibility for the Simon painting.
Correspondence in the Duveen archives shows that Edward Fowles was particularly keen to discover the sitter’s identity, and outside consultants were hired in an effort to determine it. In the end, Fowles was convinced that it indeed depicted Marie Bouthillier de Chavigny, who as the second wife of César Auguste, Duc de Choiseul, took the title Duchesse de Choiseul in 1699. If this is the case, the painting would be a very early work by the young Parisian painter, whose father was also an artist.
Messers. Hogarth & Sons, 96 Mount Street (sale, London, Christie’s, 19 February 1875, lot 69, sold gns. 5.15.6 to);
Edwin Lake Walker, Princes Gate, London (sale, London, Christie’s, 6-29 April 1916, 9th day, lot 1426, as attributed to Largillière, for gns. 241.10 to);
Comtesse Jacques de Sieyes de Veynes (1893-1972), Washington, Connecticut, sold 2 August 1954 to;
[Duveen Bros., New York, stock no. 30185, sold 1965 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.
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