By Michel Garnier, France, 1784
Signed and dated "Michel Garnier, peintre de S.A.S. le duc de Chartres / 1784"
93 x 73 cm
111 x 91.5 cm with frame
Heugel Collection, Paris, since the 19th century and thence by descent.
Elvire de Maintenant. « Michel Garnier, peintre de genre sous la Révolution », in L’Estampille-l’Objet d’Art. N° 370, 30 May 2002, p. 76-82.
Unfortunately the model of this portrait is still unidentified. He is seated on a caned armchair, quill pen in hand and looks out to the spectator, making a pause while writing letters. On his desk are books, a gold snuff-box and letters including one with an address : "A Monsieur / Monsieur le Comte de [...] (illegible) / en son hotel / A Paris".
It was probably through his father who was working for the Duc d’Orléans, that Michel Garnier access to this Household in his early days. His first known work, dated 1781, is a portrait of the Duc d’Orléans himself. Probably a Freemason like his protector or like the Marquis de Saint-Marc, one of his patrons, Garnier produced mainly genre scenes from 1785. He notably entered the studio of Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre.
The French Revolution did not affect the artist who was able to exhibit his paintings at the 1791’s Salon, like many non-academic painters.
Garnier navigate on the “Naturaliste” during the scientific exploration voyage to the South Seas that Nicolas Baudin led between 1800 and 1803. Then he stayed in Mauritius between 1801 and 1810 where he painted many still lives which he brought back to France before dying on the continent, suffering from a fragile health.