It is always satisfying to be able to put a picture in context. Here, is a portrait auctioned in 2012 of Madame Goujon, née Jeanne Marguerite Nicole Ricard (1745-1802), the mother of Jean-Marie Goujon. It is the work of the Parisian portrait painter, Adèle Varillat. who signs it on the left-hand side of the canvas, "Me Varillat". From the costume, the image probably dates from the later Revolutionary period; perhaps from the time when Madame Goujon's life had already been marked by the grief of her son's condemnation and suicide.
|File:Madame Varillat - Portrait of Madame Goujon (Jeanne Marguerite Nicole Ricard, 1745-1802).jpg - Wikimedia Commons |
Oil on canvas, 65cm x 54cm
Sold by Drouot in Paris, "Meubles et objets d'art", 12th December 2012. lot 87.
|Images d’Art (rmngp.fr)|
There survives a striking pastel portrait of the infant Nicole ascribed to Quentin La Tour.
According to family tradition, La Tour had presented the portrait to Nicole's father in recompense for some service he had been rendered. It was acquired from the Goujon family in 1898 by the Marquise Arcanati Visconti and presented to the Louvre in 1913.
Nowadays the portrait is usually attributed to either Simon-Bernard Lenoir (1729-1789) [by Neil Jeffares and Xavier Salmon] or to Jacques-Charles Allais (1704-c.1759). [More recently by Jeffares in the online Dictionary of pastellist]
On 9th February 1762, at the age of only seventeen, Nicole married Alexandre Claude Goujon, a senior administrator in the Ferme des aides. Their daughter Perrine-Claudine-Sophie was born in 1763 and their oldest son Jean-Marie in 1766. Two further sons followed, Alexandre-Marie, born in Dijon in 1776, and Antoine, born in 1784. On the death of her husband, Nicole retired with her children to a family property in Auxerre. In 1793 they moved to Versailles, where Sophie married her brother's friend Pierre-François Tissot. In 1795 two defences of Goujon were published in the name of the "Widow Goujon", but these are almost certainly the work of Tissot rather than Nicole herself - they emphasise that the deputy's private life was as virtuous as his public conduct. After Goujon's death, Tissot supported the entire household. In later years the family settled in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, where Tissot owned a factory making lanterns. I can find nothing more regarding Madame Goujon herself, who died in 1802. Alexandre Goujon became a cavalry officer in Napoleon's army; he fought at Iena, and was author of several works, including "Thoughts of a soldier at the tomb of Napoleon". He died in 1823 as a result of a fall sustained at Eylau. In the early 20th-century the daughter and granddaughter of Antoine Goujon, inheritors of the papers of the Conventionnel, were still living in Paris, at 62 rue de Babylone.
Adèle Varillat, née Tourezy (1769-1860) is described as a portrait painter in Paris, pupil of Regnault and Lethière. She exhibited in the Paris Salons of 1795 and 1833. During the Restoration she emigrated to England, exhibiting at the Royal Academy between 1816 and 1820. Françoise Brunel lists three portraits by Mme Varillet which belonged to the Goujon family: the sitters are Goujon's father (?); his mother (no doubt the picture auctioned in 2012); and, thirdly, Sophie Tissot with Alexandre Goujon's wife, Sophie de Saint-André, who was Tissot's niece and adoptive daughter [Les martyrs de Prairial, p.87]. This third picture was sold by auction in 2007: here it is on Wikipedia:
|File:Portrait de Mme Tissot (née Sophie Perrine Goujon) et Mme Goujon (née Sophie de Saint-André).jpg - Wikimedia Commons |
Oil on canvas, 73cm x 92 cm
"Veuve Goujon" by Boilly
|File:Louis-Leopold Boilly - |
Portrait de la veuve Goujon.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Oil on canvas, 21.5cm x 16.5 cm
There is no clue as to the identity of the sitter. She seems too young, at the date suggested by the clothing, to be "our" Widow Goujon. However, a miniature portrait set in the frame, which presumably depicts her late husband, seems to show a man of the Ancien régime, in a long lawyer's wig.