• Old Master & 19th Century Pain auction at Christies

    Sale 7783

    Old Master & 19th Century Paintings, Drawings & Watercolours Day Sale

    9 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 194

    Franz Xaver Winterhalter (Menzenschwand 1805-1873 Frankfurt am Main)

    Portrait of the Countesse Duchapel, full-length, with her son

    Price Realised  


    Franz Xaver Winterhalter (Menzenschwand 1805-1873 Frankfurt am Main)
    Portrait of the Countesse Duchapel, full-length, with her son
    signed, inscribed and dated 'Fr. Winterhalter fecit Paris 1841' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    100¾ x 62¼ in. (256 x 158 cm.)

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    This full-scale Salon portrait depicts Rosalie Paulée Duchâtel, the daughter of a wealthy family from the Landes, with her son, Charles-Jacques-Marie. Her husband Comte Charles-Marie-Tanneguy Duchâtel was a deputy for the Charente region, who rose first to become Finance Minister in 1835, and in 1840 was appointed Minister of the Interior under King Louis-Philippe.

    The painting is expressed in a portraiture idiom which stretches back to the British swagger portrait, and emphasises grandeur and status, the sitter looking down from a high perspective. The classical and draped background, elongated fingers, and sheer scale hark back to the Van Dyck; while the relationship between mother and child recall Rubens's Portrait of the artist with his family (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).

    Winterhalter painted this portrait during his first sojourn in Paris, where he had gained an easy entry into aristocratic circles thanks to the patronage he already enjoyed from the British royal family. He kept a foothold in Paris until the upheavals of 1848, painting leading families from around Europe, and flattering his (mostly female) sitters by an acute understanding of the fashions of his day, and by tuning his key to the wishes and status of his sitters.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Comte Duchatel, thence by descent.
    Anonymous sale; Drouot, Paris, 3 December 1985, lot 31.
    Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, Monaco, 21 June 1991, lot 165.


    E. Bellier de la Chavignerie, Dictionnaire des artistes de l'école française, II, p. 724.
    R. Ormond & C. Blackett-Ord (eds), exhibition catalogue, Franz Xaver Winterhalter and the courts of Europe 1830 - 1870, London, 1987, p. 228, no. 59.


    Paris, Salon, 1841, no. 1878.