Augustin Christian RITT (Saint Petersburg 1765-1799)
Portrait of Olympe DESMAISIERES, née MORIN d'ARFEUILLE.
Gouache and watercolor on vellum, signed on the right in the center, in the sky
Diameter : 7,5cm.
Bezel in silver.
- Unpublished, only known by a mention in the handwritten catalog, in the artist's hand, at number 207: "Madme Deméziere"
- In the descendants of the model until the beginning of the 21st century
Our delicate portrait in miniature is a precious testimony of the early career of Augustin RITT, born in St. Petersburg, son of a first violinist playing in the orchestra of the Imperial Court of Russia.
Between 1781 and 1785, he studied in Antwerp in the studio of the portraitist Andréas Bernardus de QUERTENMONT (1750-1835). He then settled in Paris, from 1787 to 1792, in the studio of François-André VINCENT, before returning to Saint Petersburg, where he led an exceptional career.
In the handwritten catalog that the artist kept throughout his life to record the names of all his models, appears, at number 207 the name of the model "Madme Deméziere", with an approximate spelling.
Other annotations give us information on the date of the portrait's execution, since it is between September 23, 1789, the date on which he attended the Salon, and January 11, 1790, the date of a new stay in Paris, that the commission is recorded.
To this day, this is the oldest known female portrait by the artist.
The model, Olympe, Constance, Catherine MORIN d'ARFEUILLE (Ypres 1766-1851 Brussels) was the daughter of François MORIN d'ARFEUILLE (Arfeuille, Limousin ? - 1781 Ypres), an officer in the service of France, and Anne Marie Colette WALWEIN (Gand 1725-1783 Ypres). In 1789, she married the member of an honorable family of French Hainaut, Charles-François-Paulin DESMAISIERES (or Desmaizères), squire, lord of Monchaux, whose portrait RITT will also make (see previous lot).
It is not to be excluded that the commission is part of this recent marriage. They were the parents of four children. Among them : Léandre DESMAISIERES (1794-1864), Belgian statesman, parliamentarian, minister of Finance, governor of East Flanders.
- Galina Nikolaevna Komelova, Augustin Ritt, Russian miniaturist (1765-1799), Saint Petersburg, 2004, p. 186, mentioned at no. 207.
-Nathalie Lemoine-Bouchard, Les peintres en miniature actifs en France, 1650-1850, Paris, 2008, p.439.
- Raeymackers, " Augustin Ritt ", in L'intermédiaire des chercheurs et curieux, n°1571, Paris, 1922, p. 979.
- Arthur Merghelynck, Recueil de généalogies inédites de Flandre, Bruges, 1877, p. 365-367.
- François Alexandre Aubert de la Chenaye Desbois, Dictionnaire de la noblesse, volume 14, Paris, 1770, p. 170-176.