French School, 18th Century, Presumed Portrait of Louis-Joseph-Xavier de France, Duke of Burgundy, child

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French School, 18th Century.

Presumed Portrait of Louis-Joseph-Xavier de France (1751-1761), Duke of Burgundy, child

Oil on canvas.
Circa 1760.

Height: 29,5 cm (11-1/2 in.) - Width: 32 cm (12-1/2 in.).

The painting is with its canvas of origin. Varnish was properly cleaned. We note a few minor very precise restorations and a light wear of material on the coat’s sleeve.

Eldest son of the Dauphin Louis de France, son of Louis XV, and Maria Josepha of Saxony, Duke of Burgundy was the eldest brother of the Duke of Berry (future Louis XVI), Count of Provence (future Louis XVIII) and Comte d'Artois (later Charles X). Favorite child of his parents, he was placed in the care of Marie Isabelle de Rohan, Duchess of Tallard.
Victim of a bad fall from a horse at the age of ten, he caught tuberculosis and died in 1761 at Versailles Chateau. The Duke of Berry (future Louis XVI) was given to the Duke of Burgundy as a companion shortly before his death. He was strongly influenced by his eldest brother’s death and gave his eldest son the same name, who also had a short life.
The eldest son of the Dauphin, titled Duke of Burgundy by his grandfather, Louis XV, remains in the decorative arts’s collective memory. In fact, the king's famous cabinetmaker Jean-François Oeben invented for the little disabled prince some furniture he could use during his convalescence with ingenious mechanisms. These mechanical furniture were a great success and were therefore called "Burgundy-style" in his honor ("Burgundy-style" commode-like desk, the Louvre, Department of Decorative Arts, OA10001).

The Duke of Burgundy’s attire in this portrait is characteristic of the 1760s. He wears an embroidery around his neck and a red frock coat with gilt galloon and charms on the sleeves. This garment is reminiscent of that worn by Duke Etienne François de Choiseul in his portrait by Carl Van Loo (1760, Versailles Chateau and Trianon, MV3845). This portrait of the Duke of Burgundy is one of the rare portraits of the Children of France in ceremonial dress. Another example being the portrait of Louis-Stanislas-Xavier de Bourbon, Count of Provence, child (brother of the Duke of Burgundy) recently sold at auction (Christie's Paris, April 16, 2012, lot 54, Circle of Louis Tocqué). In this painting, the Count of Provence also carries under his left arm a hat very similar to the Duke of Burgundy’s portrait presented by Expertissim. Furthermore, parallels can be drawn with the pastel of a same format by Jean Martial Frédou representing the Duke of Burgundy (Versailles Chateau and Trianon - MV8380). In fact, we find the same attitude in the pose, the same type of frock coat, the same curly hair tied with a black bow at the back, and the wide Holy Spirit Order ribbon sash. It is also due to these attributes that we think he is the Duke of Burgundy as only the Son of France could carry the sash from their baptisms (normally the princes of the blood could carry the sash from the age of 15).

Apart from the portrait of the Duke of Burgundy mentioned above (part of a series of eleven portraits of the Children of France probably commissioned by the Dauphine Maria Josepha of Saxony for Jean-Martial Frédou between 1760 and 1762), several representations of the eldest son of the Dauphin Louis de France are currently listed in French public collections: one by Maurice Quentin de la Tour (Musée du Louvre [inv.27621]), the second again painted by Jean-Martial Frédou (Versailles Cahteau and Trianon (MV4398). We also know the Duke of Burgundy with his mother, Maria Josepha of Saxony, a large pastel by Maurice Quentin de la Tour (Musée Antoine Lecuyer Saint-Quentin [LT17]).

Provenance :

  • Items quantity:  1
  • Expertissim Reference: 2012110351