Overview

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Attributed to Antoine Pesne (Paris 1683-1757 Berlin)
Attributed to Antoine Pesne (Paris 1683-1757 Berlin)

A young girl with a birdcage, and a young boy holding a bird's nest, in a wooded landscape

Details
Attributed to Antoine Pesne (Paris 1683-1757 Berlin)
A young girl with a birdcage, and a young boy holding a bird's nest, in a wooded landscape
oil on canvas, oval
52¾ x 42½ in. (134 x 108 cm.)
Provenance
The Earl of Lonsdale, 14-15 Carlton House Terrace, London; his sale, Christie's, London, 18 June 1887 [=6th day], lot 846, as 'Boucher' (65 gns. to Lerch).
Major Rupert Samuelson; (+), Christie's, London, 5 July 1996, lot 362, as 'After Antoine Pesne' (£6,200).
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 27 April 2006, lot 112 (£12,000) to the present owner.

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Alexis Ashot
Alexis Ashot

Lot Essay

E. Berckenhagen et al. (Antonie Pesne, Berlin, 1958, no. 251a, pl. 232) identified the young girl as Ilse Sophie von Platen (1736-1776), who was supposedly the prettiest servant of the Queen Mother, Sophie Dorothea of Prussia. She married Karl Friedrich von Kraut, Count Marshal to Prince Heinrich, in 1756, and Count Dietrich Hubert van Verelst, the Dutch ambassador in Berlin in 1773.

The gently suggestive subject matter derives from Dutch and Flemish prototypes of the seventeenth century, and illustrates Pesne's passion for the Old Masters, demonstrated above all by his imitation of Rembrandt or Van Dyck in pictures such as his Old scholar (Schloss Mosigkau, Staatliche Museen) or Portrait of a cleric (Berlin, Jagdschloss Grünewald, Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten); at the same time it foreshadows the sentimental pictures of Jean-Baptiste Greuze in the next generation of French painting.

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