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    Sale 11787

    Old Master & British Drawings

    5 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 65

    Léon Bonvin (Paris 1834-1866 Meudon)


    Price Realised  


    Léon Bonvin (Paris 1834-1866 Meudon)
    signed, dated and dedicated ‘Mon portrait à ma femme/ 19 janvier 1866 Léon Bonvin’ and with inscriptions ‘Ce tableau appartient à Melle Emilie Bonvin, ma nièce, c’est le portrait de son père Léon Bonvin’ (verso of the cardboard)
    pen and brown ink, watercolour heightened with white
    5¼ x 4 3/8 in. (13.5 x 11 cm.)

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    Apart from one drawing course, Léon Bonvin was a self-taught artist although his older half-brother François, who had garnered recognition among Paris's Realist painters, encouraged him and gave him supplies. Often short of money, Bonvin opened a restaurant, which soon became a meeting place for artists.

    This striking self-portrait, dated 15 January 1866, is dedicated to the artist's wife. They had married in 1861. During the 1860s the artist's financial situation worsened and in January 1866 he travelled to Paris to find buyers for his work. The day after an art dealer rejected it, on 30 January, he committed suicide, just over a fortnight from the date of this drawing.


    Constance Bonvin (1842-1907), and by descent to
    Emilie Bonvin (1861-1949).
    Lieutenant-Colonel André David.