"Nicolas-andré Monsiau (1754-1837) - Portrait Of President Thomas Berthereau"Nicolas-André MONSIAU (Paris 1754 - 1837)
Portrait of President Thomas Berthereau (1733-1817)
Signed and dated 1811
H. 81 cm; L. 66 cm
Oil on canvas, in a late eighteenth frame with a deep profile.
Former pupil of Jean François Pierre Peyron, Nicolas-André Monsiau was accredited to the Academy as a painter of history in 1787 and received two years later. Painter of mythological subjects, historical (Louis XVI giving instructions to the captain of La Perouse, 1817) or modern, including The Consulate of the Cisalpine Republic in 1802 ordered by Napoleon for the Tuileries in 1806. In this monumental painting, the artist demonstrates a great talent as a portraitist, since many characters are represented from nature. On three occasions, in 1791, 1808 and 1810, the artist presented isolated portraits at the Salon, but never aspired to a career in this genre.
Our painting certainly belongs to a private production, like the Self-portrait of the artist of 1827 (Louvre, inv FR 186) or the Portrait of the painter Pierre Bouillon, a young student of Monsiau (private collection).It was difficult to find the identity of this magistrate wearing his dress and different elements confirming the date of 1811, applied alongside the signature on the table. The black two-gallon silver toque was worn only by the President of the High Court or the Public Prosecutor at solemn hearings or public ceremonies. This outfit was adopted by a decree of July 7, 1811. In this case, our man retired as president of the civil court of the Seine in 1811. This is his last official portrait. Moving with his realism and the smile sketched on the lips of Thomas Berthereau, it is a real sympathy that emerges from this warm portrait. His profession of this man could render the whole austere, but the hues employed by Monsiau, between the blue cord of moiré silk and the red, give us an opposite aspect. The neutral background, the decor that comes down to an armchair and a small table, as well as the quality of execution make it a work of importance among the Empire period portraits. Note that a portrait of a woman, the same artist, dated 1816, sold in November 2017 in Paris for 22 750 €.