Thursday, 17 April 2014

More Wertmüller portraits

Oil portraits of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, signed with initials
 and dated 'A.W./1793.' and 'A:W./1787.' respectively.
Both 16.2 cm x 13.3 cm

Here are a pair of small portraits of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI by Wertmüller which were sold at Christies, New York, in January 1995. This post is really just to marry up the auction notice with images of the two paintings which can be found  - and downloaded in high quality versions  - on the "Corbis" website.  The auction estimate was $50,000-$70,000, but they made only $29,000; not much really considering this was an artist once officially commissioned to paint the French queen!

Wertmüller emigrated to the United States in 1794, taking many of his existing paintings with him, and settled in Philadelphia. These portraits are tentatively identified from the catalogue of the 1812 sale of his studio contents as Lot 19: "King and Queen of France, small ovals from person".  The Marie-Antoinette is clearly a version of Wertmüller's own work; the Louis XVI is presumably just a copy after another artist, possibly of the 1786 portrait by Antoine Callet(?)


Auction at Christie's, 11 January 1995
Sale 8092, Old Master paintings from the collection of Alice Tully
Lot 26

Image on Corbis images
There is also a second set of images of the same paintings on the Corbis site, dating from 2013. They are listed as "private collection" and copyrighted Christie's,  but I haven't been able to find a more recent sale.

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