"Portrait Of A Lady C.1735"Attributed to Henri Millot (c.1690-1756)
This exquisite work is an accomplished example of the type of portrait in vogue in the early 18th century. Much of the beauty of this painting resides in a daring exploitation of the resonant colors of the palette. The woman's pearlescent flesh tones and pink lips are set off by a dark background and the mastery of the color combination is sublime.
The sitter is Marie Anne Jacquette Pipillon de la Ferte (1714-1764). Marie Anne was the wife of Pierre Louis Baugier de Bignipont (1700-1781) and sister of Denis Pierre Papillon de la Ferte (born 1727) who was an official for Louis XV and Louis XVI. Denis died on the scaffold by guillotine in 1794. The portrait was painted at about the same time as her marriage in January 1735. The richness of the clothing and the whiteness of the skin are distinctive marks of the sitter’s social status. The rich fabrics and elaborate tailoring affords the portrait a theatricality that is a close reflection of an elegant and sophisticated society in which this wealthy woman belonged to.
Henri Millot was a French painter who studied under and worked with Nicholas de Largilliere (1656-1746). After a stay in Munich around 1721-1724, from where he executed the Portrait of Duke Gustav-Adolf von Zweibrücken (1722, Schloss Schleissheim), he moved to Strasbourg, and seems to have returned to Paris, where he exhibited two portraits in the Salon de l‘Académie de Saint-Luc in 1756. The influence of his master is immediately recognisable in the technique and the subtle surface textures of the clothes.
A portrait of a lady by the artist sold for $48,752 (Sotheby’s London sale 9th Dec 2010). Work by this artist rarely appears on the market for purchase.
Measurements: Height 106cm, Width 123cm framed (Height 41.5”, Width 46.5”)