• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1987

    Important European Furniture, Works of Art, Ceramics, Carpets, And Glass

    20 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 215

    A SEVRES (SOFT-PASTE) BISCUIT PORTRAIT BUST OF THE COMTESSE DU BARRY

    CIRCA 1771, THE REAR TRUNCATION INCISED 2, THE SOCLE INCISED WITH A SCRIPT LOWERCASE DA

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A SEVRES (SOFT-PASTE) BISCUIT PORTRAIT BUST OF THE COMTESSE DU BARRY
    CIRCA 1771, THE REAR TRUNCATION INCISED 2, THE SOCLE INCISED WITH A SCRIPT LOWERCASE da
    Truncated at the shoulders and waist and draped à la grecque, her head turned slightly to left, her hair swept up, a band of ringlets at the crown of her head and falling over her left shoulder
    13½ in. (34.2 cm.) high


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    The present portrait of the king's favorite by court sculptor Augustin Pajou (1730-1809) became the basis for his career as a portraitist of women. The queen having engaged Jean-Baptiste II Lemoyne to sculpt her portrait (exhibited at the Salon of 1771), Madame du Barry turned to Pajou for a similar commission. From this commission came other commissions for her pavilion at Louveciennes, the interiors of which were completed in 1773. For this country retreat, Pajou produced a variety of pieces, both portraiture and decorative additions to the interiors.

    See James David Draper and Guilhem Scherf, Augustin Pajou, Royal Sculptor 1730-1809, Exhibition Catalogue, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1997, pp. 237-246 for a discussion of Pajou's relationship with Madame du Barry and a detail discussion of the marble portrait on which the present biscuit version is based.

    According to the Sèvres factory records, Madame du Barry herself purchased examples of her portrait at the Christmas sale held at Versailles in 1771 (Register Vy 5, folios 17-17vo).

    Provenance

    With Dragesco-Cramoisan, Paris.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED COLLECTION