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Jacques Portail

Jacques-André Portail (1695–1759)
Lady Sketching at a Table
Black and red chalk, brush and gray wash, with touches of pink and blue watercolor
10 1/16 x 8 3/8 inches (255 x 212 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan in 1907; III, 98a
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item »

Trained as an engineer and architect, Portail eventually became dessinateur du roi at Versailles in 1738. Although Portail's drawings are usually executed in a combination of black and red chalks, the present work is enhanced by touches of watercolor, especially noticeable in the young woman's corsage. The drawing is more detailed than other examples of the artist's work and affords a glimpse of the furnishings of a Louis XV room, specifically its mantelpiece and mirror, ornamental sconce, and boiseries. The young woman's pet, a small hound, is curled up on a stool before her.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.