Friday, 28 July 2017

Checklist of Robespierre portraits, set 2

17. Painting (?) by David,1792 (?), in dress and theatrical pose of a deputy; said to have been done, like No. 16, for the Duplays.

 I am not sure what Thompson's documentation is for the existence of this portrait, nor how it relates to the lithograph (No.32).  He writes says  that the picture, now lost, may perhaps be identified with one recorded in the journal of Alfred de Vigny as in the possession of the Prince de Ligne:
See: Annales révolutionnaires, vol.10(5), p.696: "Portrait of Robespierre by David" - described as the head of Robespierre in pastel, showing his dark, almond-shaped eyes, melancholy smile and regular teeth.

18. Oil painting by Lefèvre, 1792, from E. Hamel's collection, now in the Carnavalet Museum

(3/4 length, sitting, 3/4 face right, holding book open on kneeds; curled hair, dark coat, white jabot and waistcoat, lace cuffs).  Interesting, rather sinister, in bad condition.  Reproduced in Buffenoir (32)

Buffenoir, vol.1(2) p.260-1, plate 13.

Notice from the Musée Carnavalet: 
For once there is a clear answer on the status of this portrait.  Not Robespierre!
In 1988 the painting was cleaned and the identifying inscription found to be an addition.  The figure itself had been over-painted in order to make it look more like Robespierre. The newly cleaned portrait is a fine one, but the sitter is at present unknown.

19. Engraving by Chrétien after Fouquet, 1792

Buffenoir AR vol.1(4) p.646-7. Plate 31A:  "An imperceptible smile, hardly found elsewhere, reveals a joie de vivre, but the image is fundamentally seriousness and commands respect."  One of the first mentions of Robespierre as 'the Incorruptible'" 

A physionotrace portrait of Robespierre "after a drawing" by Jean-Baptiste Fouquet; right profile. 6 cm. 

Compare no. 42, which is possibly the original drawing. The heavy shading around the eye is characteristic of the physionotrace process.  

20. An anonymous oil painting of 1793(?) given by Clémenceau to the Carnavalet Museum.

(3/4 right, blue coat, with red and white revers, knotted cravat.)

Buffenoir, AR vol.1 (2) p.260:  "The dominent expression is energy;  it is the Robespierre of the great battles of the Convention." 

Buffenoir does not include a plate, but I think it is this portrait which is reproduced on several internet sites from old books.   I don't know whether it is still in the Carnavalet collections - I can't find a modern reference or a coloured picture. In any case, it does not look to be a very high-quality painting, though it is clearly Robespierre.

21. Anonymous water colour (?) of 1793 (?) representing Robespierre in his room at the Duplays; in Buffenoir's collection.  Reproduced in Buffenoir (36)

AR vol 1(2) p. 262-4; plate 15  An important image, known only, I think, from Buffenoir's reproduction.

22. Oil painting (?) of 1793 (?) by Ducreux (?)in the collection of of M.G.C.-L., supposed to have been shown at the Salon of 1793.
Buffenoir, vol.2(3),Appendix p.388.  Plate 9.

Buffenoir describes this picture as in the collection of M.Gaston Calmann-Lévy; his identification with the portrait exhibited at the Salon of 1793 is only speculative.

The Dictionary of Pastellists lists three different Robespierre portraits by Ducreux, the first of which is the portrait sold by Sotheby's in 2003. A second picture is documented as a chalk  exhibited in 1793. This just cannot be this portrait - the sitter simply isn't Robespierre.

Exerpt from the Dictionnary of Pastellists: Ducreux's "Robespierres":

23. Engraving by Kugner, 1793, with title Robespierre unter den Jacobinern

See Buffenoir, AR vol.1(2) p.233. 

Engraving on wood showing Robespierre at the Jacobins Signed A.W. Kugner 1793.

In the BN./Stanford Digital Archive

24. Oil painting by Greuze, 1794, bought at Lord Lonsdale's sale, and now in Lord Rosebery's collection.

A fine portrait but is it Robespierre?

Buffenoir, AR, vol.1(2), p.255-6.  Plate 5

The answer is "no". This is without doubt one of the many self-portraits produced by Ducreux.  See entry in the Dictionary of Pastellists:

There is no information as to present location.

25. Oil painting by Boutteville, in England (?) engraved by Jones, in 1794 as "Robbespierre"

(Robespierre as a schoolboy, head and shoulders, side face left, plain coat and shirt; attractive but it might be anyone.) The engraving is reprodued by Buffenoir (16)
Buffenoir, AR, vol.1(2), p.255-6.  Plate 6.
In the BN: 

26.  Oil painting by Fragonard, 1794, reproduced in A.R. 1/257. 

(Nearly full face, in damaged condition) Is it Robespierre?

Buffenoir vol.1(2), p.262. Plate 14. 

This is an anonymous painting which was in Buffenoir's own  collection.  Buffenoir in fact only claimed that the style is reminiscent of Fragonard. Current whereabouts unknown?

27. Oil painting (?) signed Diogg, P.,1794,  now at Arcueil-Cachan

....dress and hair are unlike him.

See Pierre Marcel, "Contribution à l'iconographie de Robespierre", Annales révolutionnaires, 1912, vol.5(1): p.37-40.
Bought by the chemist F.-V. Raspail in Brussels in 1852 or 1853;  in 1912 it was in the collection of the museum  founded by Raspail in Arcueil-Cachan.  
Felix Maria Diogg (1762 –1834) was a Swiss painter.

A Robespierre with sideburns?! !

28. Pen and ink sketch by P. Grandmaison, done in the Convention on July 27 (9 Thermidor) 1794.

(Head, side-face left) From the Charavay collection.  Reproduced in Buffenoir (118)

Buffenoir, AR vol.1(4): p.659. 
By François-Auguste Parseval-Grandmaison.  From the collection of Étienne Charavay; now in the BN.  The annotation reads "Portrait of Robespierre made in pen by Parseval-Grandmaison at the sitting of the 9th Thermidor. (These words are in the hand of M. de Longueville, to whom Parseval-Grandmaison gave this drawing)." 
On Grandmaison, see

29. Sketch in India ink, Mess II, belonging to Mlle Louise Lévi, described in A.R.2/387

Buffenoir vol.2(3),Appendix p.389:  Buffenoir suggests this is possibly the last portrait of Robespierre apart from the sketch by Grandmaison on 9 Thermidor. 

Buffenoir's description sounds like this engraving in the BN.

There is no date on the engraving. [Perhaps it is the engraving produced by Courtois (No.49)?]

30. Death-mask, 1794

Thompson did not believe the deathmask/lifemask to be authentic.  Personally, I am not sure.  Here is a recent digital mock-up by Marie Lasbleiz

[To be continued]


  1. 20. is clearly another (inferior) copy based on the lost Gérard, but flipped. (Perhaps copied from a reversed engraving?)

  2. 25. Probably Augustin, mislabelled. The nose is more like his.

    1. It also looks a bit like this person (whoever he is)

  3. That Sheffield picture looks to me as if it's just a random teenager. I'm not even sure it can be claimed to be a French painting.

  4. 17. The description with rapturous expression and visible teeth sounds suspiciously like a prepatory portrait-sketch for David's 'Tennis Court Oath'. It would be marvellous if it could be found.

    1. Do you think you love Robespierre a little too much...?

    2. I'm just very excited about all the iconographic fun to be had! I'm captivated by physionotraces, technically as well as artistically. I love artistic puzzles: misidentified portraits, missing portraits, tracking things down!

  5. 28. (Parseval Grandmaison) is now in the Morgan.


Print Friendly and PDF