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Hyacinthe Rigaud (Perpignan 1659-1743 Paris)
Hyacinthe Rigaud (Perpignan 1659-1743 Paris)

Portrait of the artist, bust-length, in a lace cravat and blue cloak

Hyacinthe Rigaud (Perpignan 1659-1743 Paris)
Portrait of the artist, bust-length, in a lace cravat and blue cloak
oil on canvas, oval
28 ¾ x 23 ¼ in. (73.1 x 59 cm.)
Mr. and Mrs. Otto O'Meara; their sale, Galerie Georges Giroux, Brussels, 15 October 1928 (=1st day), lot 81, illustrated.
G. van Derveer Gallenkamp, Hyacinthe Rigaud, PhD thesis, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., 1956, pp. 158-62 and 236.
S. Perreau, Hyacinthe Rigaud, catalogue concis de l'œuvre, Sète, 2013, p. 63, no. P.1.
A. James-Sarazin and J.-Y. Sarazin, Hyacinthe Rigaud 1659-1743: Tome II: Catalogue Raisonné, Dijon, 2016, p. 21, no. P.3.

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Maja Markovic
Maja Markovic Associate Specialist, Head of Sale

Lot Essay

This self-portrait can be dated to very early within Hyacinthe Rigaud’s career, painted before he moved to Paris in 1681, where he rapidly became established as the pre-eminent portraitist of the French court and royal family under Louis XIV. The artist’s early training included a possible apprenticeship with Paul Pezet in Montpellier, and then Antoine Ranc (1634-1716), whose admiration of Anthony van Dyck’s portraits would prove highly influential on Rigaud’s later work. The artist subsequently moved to Lyon in 1678, which was a significant artistic centre in France and an obligatory stop for artists travelling to, or returning from, Italy. Lyon had also become the silk-making capital of Europe by the seventeenth century, something which surely may have interested the young Rigaud, whose fascination and skill at depicting luxury textiles became a hallmark of his work.
All known portraits by Rigaud dating from this moment in his early career follow the format of the present work, depicting the sitter at bust-length and placed against a neutral background. The prominence of the expertly painted lace of the shirt, as well as the embroidered collar of the coat, are characteristic of the painter’s earlier style, heralding the distinctive features of Rigaud’s mature oeuvre, typified by the dynamic and elaborate handling of voluminous drapery and the proud deportment of the sitter.

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