Portrait of Ramel de Nogaret

Date
1820

Medium
oil on canvas

Dimension
59.4 x 46.5 cm

Date
1820

Medium
oil on canvas

Dimension
59.4 x 46.5 cm

Portrait of Ramel de Nogaret, the inventor of the French Franc, is a painting by Jacques-Louis David. It was sold through Nicholas Hall to a private collection.
Signature and inscriptions

signed and dated ‘L. DAVID BRVX – 1820’ (lower left)

Provenance

Dominique-Vincent Ramel de Nogaret, 1820

By descent to his daughter Pauline, who married Edouard-Louis Lorois (1792-1836)

By descent to her son Edouard Lorois (1819-1885), and thence to his widow

By inheritance to ‘MM. P.’ (unidentified), 1913

By descent to Maître Binoche; Drouot, Paris, 18 October 1995, lot 40

with Colnaghi, New York

James Fairfax, Bowral, New South Wales

New York, Christie’s, Important Old Master Paintings Part I and Part II, 15 April 2008, lot 72

Private collection, USA

exhibited

Paris, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Deuxième exposition de portraits du siècle au profit de la société philanthropique, 1885, no. 41.

Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts, David et ses élèves, 1913, no. 64.

Château de Sceaux, Musée de L’Ile de France, Ile-de-France – Brabant, 2 June – 31 August 1962 (Paris); Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, 14 October – 17 December 1962 (Brussels), no. 180.

New York, Colnaghi, The French portrait, 1550-1850, 10 January – 10 February 1996, pp. 76-78 and 104-05, pl. 22.

Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, The James Fairfax Collection of Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and Prints, 17 April – 20 July 2003, no. 14.

Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile, 1 February – 24 April; Williamstown, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 5 June – 5 September 2005 (Williamstown), no. 52.

To the end of his life David was an absolute partisan of the French Revolution and a supporter of Napoleon Bonaparte. Indeed, no painter so heroically commemorated the events of 1789 or so indelibly memorialized the Emperor as did David, in masterpieces from the Oath of the Tennis Court (begun in 1790; Château, Versailles) and The Death of Marat (1793; Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels), to Bonaparte Crossing the Great St. Bernard (1801; several versions including Château de Malmaison, Paris) and The Coronation of Napoleon and Josephine (known as the ‘Tableau du Sacre, 1805-07; Louvre, Paris). Having remained loyal to Bonaparte, David was forced into exile after Napoleon’s final disgrace and the Bourbons’ return to power in 1815. In January 1816, following the passage of a law against regicides, David left for Brussels where he would remain for the rest of his life.

Unsuccessful in securing a permanent post from the governor of Brussels to oversee all artistic matters in the Netherlands, David seems to have taken on what for him was an unusually large number of portrait commissions – six in 1816 alone – to cover the costs of his relocation and help finance his settling into his new home. From the first, he moved in social circles composed principally of revolutionary exiles like himself and members of the deposed Emperor’s extended family, and he drew from this disillusioned and dislocated set the subjects of his portrait commissions. Among these were the two daughters of Joseph Bonaparte (1821; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles) and his niece (1824; Louvre, Paris); a handsome young chamberlain to Napoleon and Josephine, the prince de Gavre (1816; private collection); a one time lady-in-waiting to Empress Marie-Louise, the Comtesse Vilain XIIII (posed with her daughter; 1816; National Gallery, London); distinguished former members of the Imperial military corps, General Gerard (1816; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and the Comte de Turenne (painted twice in 1816: a bust-length in the collection of the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown and a three-quarter length in the collection of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen); and radical legislators from the heady, early years of the Revolution, including Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyes (1817; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard), Charles-Jean-Marie Alquier (lost in a fire in 1871), and Ramel de Nogaret, sitter for the present portrait (1820).

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