Portrait of Alexis Piron (?)

Louis Tocqué (French, 1696-1772)
c. 1737
Oil on canvas 
50-1/2 x 38 in. (128.3 x 96.5 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Not on View

Louis Tocqué studied with the fashionable portrait painter Jean-Marc Nattier's 1685–1766. He later became Nattier’s son-in-law when he married his daughter Marie. A skilled portraitist, Tocqué’s paintings found positive receptions at the annual Salon and paintings by him were commissioned by the royal courts of both Russia and Denmark. If the identification of the sitter portrayed here is indeed Alexis Piron, 1689–1773, then we are presented with the visage of a renowned French poet and humorist whose sharp wit was both deeply appreciated and feared. The vivid characterization of his face, the slight turn of his head, and the accoutrements piled on the desk behind him combine to convey a sense of liveliness.


Virot (sale, Paris, 28 May 1884, lot 79, as Portrait présume d’Alexis Piron, measuring 137 x102 cm.);
Mme Déclat, widow of Virot (sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 25 April 1911, lot 30, ill., as Portrait présume d’Alexis Piron, for Ff 38,000, to);
Del Valle.
[Wildenstein, Paris].
Baron Maurice de Rothschild (1881-1957), Paris, by 1929, by descent in the family, to;
[P & D Colnaghi & Co., Ltd., London, sold 1982 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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