Hyacinthe Rigaud

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Hyacinthe Rigaud
Studies for the Portrait of Charles Le Brun and Pierre Mignard
Black chalk heightened with white, on blue-gray paper.
10 x 18 inches (254 x 457 mm)
Bequest of Catherine Curran in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Morgan Library and the 50th anniversary of the Association of Fellows.
J.P. van Suchtelen (1751-1836), St. Petersburg (L. 2332); Marius Paulme (1863-1928), Paris (L. 1910); sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 14 May 1929, no. 211, pl. 141; Marianne Feilchenfeldt (1909-2001), Zurich, early 1970s; Catherine Curran (1926-2007), New York.

Dominique Brême, Hyacinthe Rigaud: Exposition au Musée Boussuet de Meaux, Dijon, France, Editions Faton, 2000, 56, repr.
Perrau, Stephane. Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743). Catalogue concis de l'oeuvre, under P1363-2.


In 1730 the wealthy fermier général (tax farmer-general) and faithful patron François de Castagnier commissioned from Rigaud two double portraits for his hôtel particulier. The paintings would be inserted into overdoor panels, a popular feature of Regency interiors. One canvas depicted the artist himself painting Castagnier's portrait (Rigaud Museum, Perpignan). The other was a double portrait of the seventeenth century artists Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) and Pierre Mignard (1612-1695) facing each other (Louvre Museum, Paris). With this audacious iconography Rigaud posited himself as a successor to Louis XIV's celebrated First Painters. Castagnier, deeply nostalgic for the previous reign, thus proudly presented himself as a royal patron of the arts.
In his canvas, Rigaud copied the portrait of Charles Le Brun that Nicolas Largilliere (his competitor but close friend) painted in 1686. The portrait of Mignard was one painted by the artist himself in 1690 to decorate the Royal Academy. Rigaud used drawings, sometimes done by assistants, to keep record of the numerous portraits he painted, to engrave them and disseminate his work and also to sell to discerning art collectors the drawn version of their portrait. The noticeable effort to combine the two historic portraits and the few differences between this drawing and the final composition suggests that this sheet was among the preliminary studies by Rigaud and his studio for Louvre canvas.

Associated names: 

Van Suchtelen, J. P., 1751-1836, former owner.
Paulme, Marius, b. 1863, former owner.
Feilchenfeldt, Marianne, former owner.
Curran, Catherine, former owner.

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