Portrait of Madame Debucourt (Suzanne-Françoise Marquant) holding a letter. 1799-1800
Black and white chalks, blue and pink pastel, heightened with white gouache, in a drawn oval
- Height: 262 millimetres
- Width: 203 millimetres (drawn oval is 215 x 180)
Inscription ContentIndistinctly inscribed by the artist on the letter, now only partly legible but recorded by the Goncourts and later writers: "Mon amie...pour la vie, ton ami, Debucourt, an vii"
Literature: E. and J. de Goncourt, "L'art du dix-huitième siècle: Debucourt", Paris, 1866, p.21: "La famille Jazet conserve de cette seconde femme de Debucourt un curieux portrait à la mode du Directoire, dessiné et pastellé par le mari futur. C'est une figure de femme de quarante ans, l'oeil noir, le nez aquilin, les coins de bouche retroussés, avec cet air de bonhomie finie et de malicieuse bonté qui semble le sourire et l'expérience de l'age. La tête sort d'une perruque à mille boucles frisées, blanchie d'un oeil de poudre, sur laquelle est jeté un bonnet tuyauté où court un ruban bleu. Le buste se montre empaqueté dans un grand fichu blanc tombant sur une robe bleue, nouée par un ruban rose. Et d'une main gantée d'un long gant, celle qui sera Mme Debucourt tient une lettre sur laquelle le dessinateur a écrit: 'Mon amie...pour la vie, ton ami Debucourt, an VII'." (The Jazet family has a captivating portrait of Debucourt's second wife, in the Directoire style, drawn and heightened with pastel by the future husband. It shows the figure of a woman of 40, with dark eyes, aquiline nose, the corners of her mouth raised expressing the refined good nature and mischievous kindness as befits a woman of pleasant disposition and experience. Her head emerges from a wig of a thousand wavey curls, lightly dusted with powder, on which is placed a bonnet with a short blue ribbon. The bust is wrapped in a large white shawl which falls over a blue dress tied back with a pink ribbon. And in her hand, covered in a long glove, she who would become Mme Debucourt holds a letter on which the draughtsman has written: "to my lady friend...for life, your friend Debucourt, year VII".)
Year VII of the French Revolutionary calendar ran from 1799-1800. According to the 1906 exhibition catalogue, the artist married the sitter in 1803 (2 ventôse an XI). Debucourt's first wife (daughter of the sculptor Mouchy) had died, as had their son in 1801. Mlle Marquant was the artist's neighbour at 17 rue Franklin at Passy (near what is now the Place du Trocadéro in Paris). According to the 1920 catalogue they married on the 16 ventôse an XI (7 March 1803), and the sitter was born at Arcy (Oise) 13 September 1761 and she died at La Chapelle-Saint-Denis in 1830 or 1831.
Debucourt's drawings are rare, and only 20 have been recorded.
E. and J. de Goncourt, "L'art du dix-huitième siècle", Paris, 1880-82, pp.286-7, illustrated ("pastel appartenant à M. Jazet");
M. Fenaille, "L'oeuvre gravé de P.-L. Debucourt 1755-1832", Paris, 1899, p.342, illustrated.
Not on display (French Roy XVIIIc)
1906 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Exposition...XVIIIe siècle, no.115
1920 Paris, Musée des arts décoratifs, 'Debucourt', no. 34, repr.
2016-17 Sept-Jan, BM, 'French Portrait Drawings' (no cat)
- Funded by: Ottley Group
- Purchased from: W M Brady & Co, Inc. (New York)
- Previous owner/ex-collection: Jean Pierre Jazet (Nephew of the artist)
- Previous owner/ex-collection: Philibert Louis Debucourt (His estate)
- Previous owner/ex-collection: Maurice Fenaille (Purchased from Jazet family by Fenaille and thence by descent until acquired by Mark Brady)
Prints & Drawings
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Object reference number: PDO174678
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