Félix Emmanuel Henri Philippoteaux

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Félix Emmanuel Henri Philippoteaux
Portrait of the Composer Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842) Seated at the Piano
ca. 1840
Graphite, pink and blue watercolor, with white opaque watercolor, on paper.
9 5/8 x 6 1/2 inches (244 x 164 mm)
Purchased on the Mary Flagler Cary Music Fund.

Known for his battle scenes and cycloramas, or cylindrical paintings, Philippoteaux also produced portraits of significant figures of the age, including this one of the composer Luigi Cherubini. This watercolor was the basis for the hand-colored lithograph made by Charles Bour and published by Imprimerie Rigo in the 1840s, which popularized Cherubini's likeness.
Cherubini was Italian by birth but moved to France and became a citizen shortly after that in the 1790s. He soon became a popular success and was at the center of the musical world in Paris for the next five decades, becoming director of the city's Conservatoire in 1822. His career followed the tumultuous political events in France, and here we see him near the end of his life. Philippoteaux situated the informally dressed composer at the piano, quill in hand, and with the scores of two of his most celebrated operas, “Lodoiska” and “Les deux journées,” on the floor.


Inscribed in pencil at lower right, "F. Philippoteaux / chérubini"; inscribed scores on floor at lower left include "Requiem" (1836), and two of Cherubini's best-known operas, "Lodoiska" (1791), and "Les deux journées" (1800).
Watermark: none.

P. & D. Colnaghi and Co., Ltd., London.

Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Seventeenth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1972-1974. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1976, p. 176.