• Impressionist/Modern Day Sale auction at Christies

    Sale 7833

    Impressionist/Modern Day Sale

    3 February 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 414

    Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

    Anne de Clèves, d'après Hans Holbein le Jeune

    Price Realised  


    Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
    Anne de Clèves, d'après Hans Holbein le Jeune
    oil on canvas
    25¾ x 19 in. (65.3 x 48.3 cm.)
    Painted circa 1860-1862

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    The present work is executed after Hans Holbein the Younger's famous portrait of Anne of Cleves, painted in 1539. Holbein was dispatched to Cleves during Cromwell's delicate negotiations to paint likenesses of both Anne and her sister Amelia, both of whom King Henry VIII was considering taking as his fourth wife in order to seal the treaty. After seeing her portrait Henry was impatient to meet his future wife but was hugely disappointed by her and felt misled by the painting. He urged Cromwell to find a legal way out of the marriage but could not do so without endangering the alliance with the Germans. Henry and Anne were married in January 1540 but the King had the marriage annulled only seven months later on the grounds of non-consummation and Anne was never crowned Queen consort. Anne was given a generous settlement was thereafter referred to as the King's Beloved Sister.

    Holbein painted two versions of this portrait; one now resides in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the other is in the collection of the Louvre in Paris, where Degas painted the present work. Degas had registered as a copyist in the Louvre as early as 1853 and during his three year trip to Italy from 1856 had copied Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian. Degas often selected a single head from an altarpiece, treating it as a portrait, so it is no surprise that Holbein's portrait of Anne of Cleves would have fired his imagination on his return to Paris in 1859. Devoting himself to history painting in his early years it is said that by the early 1860s Degas had made more than 700 copies of Italian Renaissance and French Classical works, few of which survive today.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (nos. 5170 & 1290).
    A. Tourniol, Paris, by whom acquired from the above on 29 April 1899.
    Mme de Montfort.
    Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 1 December 1982, lot 7.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text



    J. Meier-Graefe, Degas, London, 1923 (illustrated pl. 9).
    P. Jamot, Degas, Paris, 1924, pp. 10 & 35.
    P.A. Lemoisne, Degas et son oeuvre, vol. II, Paris, 1946, no. 80 (illustrated p. 43).
    T. Reff, 'New Light on Degas' Copies', in The Burlington Magazine, vol. 106, no. 735, June 1964, p. 255.
    F. Minervino, L'opera completa di Degas, Milan, 1974, no. 51 (illustrated p. 88).
    E. Foucart-Walter, La peinture de Hans Holbein le Jeune au Louvre, Paris, 1985, pp. 63 & 76.


    Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Degas, March - April 1937, no. 57.
    Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Edgar Degas 1834-1917, June - October 1960, no. 3.
    Paris, Musée du Louvre, Copier créer: de Turner à Picasso, 300 oeuvres inspirées par les maîtres du Louvre, April - July 1993, no. 221 (illustrated).
    Zurich, Kunsthaus, Degas Portraits, December 1994 - March 1995, no. 54 (illustrated pp. 154 & 329); this exhibition later travelled to Tübingen, Kunsthalle.