Robert Nanteuil

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Robert Nanteuil
Portrait of Philibert-Emmanuel de Beaumanoir de Lavardin
ca. 1660
Black chalk, pastel, watercolor, white opaque watercolor, on three joined sheets of paper.
14 1/8 x 10 3/4 inches (360 x 272 mm)
Thaw Collection.

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Signed, 'Nanteuil'.

Galerie Aubry, Paris, 1971; Alfred Normand (1911-1993), Paris; sale, Christie's Monaco, 20 June 1994, lot 46; Walter Lees (1916-2010), London; sale, Christie's, London, 16 July 2010, lot 131; sale, Christie's, Paris, 1 April 2011, lot 70; Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, New York.

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 274, repr.
C. Wickert et C. Petitjean, Catalogue de l'oeuvre gravé de Robert Nanteuil, Paris, 1925, nos. 100-1.
J.A. Ganz, 'Robert Nanteuil's Doctored Bishop', Print Quarterly, XI, 1994, p. 292.
N. Jeffares, Dictionary of pastellists before 1800, London, 2006, p. 384, ill.
T. Burns, The invention of pastel painting, London, 2007, pp. 49 et 186, no. 44.
A. Adamczak, Robert Nanteuil (1623-1678): Portraitiste du temps de Louis XIV, thèse en cours de publication, Paris, 2012, no. 74, pl. 122


Nanteuil was a prolific engraver at the court of Louis XIV. This is his preparatory study, drawn from life, for a portrait print of the bishop Philibert-Emmanuel de Beaumanoir de Lavardin (1617-1671). The bishop is shown at age forty-three, wearing a skullcap and a clerical band around his neck. Despite his profession, Lavardin was not known to be a very devout man; indeed, he spent the 1660s trying to ward off criticism that he was atheist.
James Ganz has chronicled how the portrait print of Lavardin was later reworked into a depiction of a charlatan doctor, an unprecedented manipulation of a court portrait into a caricature.

Associated names: 

Normand, Alfred, former owner.
Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.
Thaw, Clare, former owner.

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