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Charles-Antoine Coypel (Paris 1694-1752)
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Charles-Antoine Coypel (Paris 1694-1752)

Portrait of Gaspard de Gueidan playing the musette

Charles-Antoine Coypel (Paris 1694-1752)
Portrait of Gaspard de Gueidan playing the musette
inscribed twice with intertwined initials 'GS' ('Gueidan' and 'Simianes')
black chalk, pen and black ink, brown, grey and blue wash, heightened with white
11¾ x 7 7/8 in. (29.6 x 20 cm.)
M. Miallet; Paris, Drouot, 9 June 1902, lot 16.
Mannhein collection; Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 14 March 1913, lot 27.
T. Lefrançois, Charles Coypel Peintre du roi (1694-1752), Paris, 1994, no. P.193a, p. 309, illustrated (as by Louis Surugue).
S. Perreau, Hyacinthe Rigaud, Montpellier, 2004, p. 131 (as by Coypel).
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Lot Essay

This highly-finished portrait of Gaspard, marquis de Gueidan (1688-1767), is related to Hyacinthe Rigaud's famous painting of the same sitter (circa 1735; Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence) and to a pastel portrait by Coypel (now in the Horvitz Collection and dated by Lefrançois, op. cit., to circa 1738; see Pastel portraits: Images of 18th-Century Europe, exhib. cat., New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011, no. 10). Like both painting and pastel, this drawing postdates de Gueidan's marriage to Angélique de Simianes in 1724, a union which is celebrated in the heraldic crest at the bottom of the sheet, including both the Simianes and de Gueidan arms and flanked by figures of a unicorn and Faith. There seems to be no justification for Lefrançois's suggestion that the arms were in some way supposed to be a caricature or mockery of the marriage. On the contrary, they celebrate the match. The initials of the two families, G and S, also appear twice in the drawing itself; they were previously thought to be the initials of the artist, which led Lefrançois to suppose that the drawing was by Louis Suruge and preparatory for his print, but in fact it is more likely that they continue the celebration of the match between the two families.

The drawing cannot be a direct preparatory drawing for the print, as de Gueidan's facial features are shown with the same spiritual absorption in both pastel and print. This drawing, however, shows de Gueidan with a livelier and more engaging expression, closer to that chosen by Rigaud in his painting. It may therefore be a modello executed by Coypel for the pastel, but perhaps rejected for being too slavishly close to the Rigaud, and the face was altered in the pastel to give it a more spiritual air.

We are grateful to Neil Jeffares for sharing his thoughts on the pastel composition and for his assistance in preparing this cataloguing note.

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