Émile Jean Horace Vernet (French, 1789-1863)
Émile Jean Horace Vernet (French, 1789-1863)

Portrait of Charles Auguste de Bériot

Émile Jean Horace Vernet (French, 1789-1863)
Portrait of Charles Auguste de Bériot
oil on canvas
28 ¾ x 23 ½ in. (73 x 59.6 cm.)
The artist.
Charles Auguste de Bériot (1802-1870), Paris.
Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782-1871), Paris, acquired directly from the above.
His estate sale; 26 July 1871, Paris.
Jean-François-Philibert Berthélier (1830-1888), Paris, acquired at the above sale.
By whom gifted to Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot (1833-1914), the sitter's son, Paris.
By descent to the present owner.

Le Guide musical, “Variétés: éphémérides musicales”, Brussels, 18 Mar. 1886, p. 11.
S. Hale & L. Godey (ed.), Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, 'Godey's Armchair', Philadelphia, January-June 1871, vols. 82-83, p. 575.

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Lot Essay

This interesting and arresting portrait depicts Charles Auguste de Bériot (1802-1870), who was a Belgian violinist and composer. His affair with the opera singer Maria Felicia Malibran (1808-1836) carried on for years and produced one son. Upon the annulment of her previous marriage, they married in 1836. The dynamic young couple was celebrated in musical circles, and Felix Mendelssohn even wrote an aria accompanied by a solo violin especially for them. Tragically, Maria died a few months after their marriage from injuries sustained in a fall from a horse.

In 1843, de Bériot became the chief violin instructor at the Brussels conservatory, where he established the Franco-Belgian school of violin, which combined Classical elegance with technical virtuosity. He composed ten violin concertos and his pedagogical compositions are still used today.

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