A Mysterious French School Violinist

On 31 May 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

A fine score for an early 19th-century musician.

French School, early 19th century, Portrait d'un violoniste (Portrait of a Violinist), oil on canvas, 92 x 72.5 cm/36.2 x 28.5 in.
Result: €36,830

Although the painter and model’s names are unknown, this early 19th-century French School Portrait d'un violoniste fetched a splendid €36,830, suggesting that bidders might have been able to identify either or both. At any rate, his score in one hand and his violin close by, the musician certainly cuts a proud and handsome figure.  Violinists have a close bond with their instruments. It is a deeply intimate relationship, as with a partner, and one is nothing without the other. Great early 19th-century French virtuosos include Pierre Baillot (1771-1842), who also taught and promoted chamber music in Paris, and Pierre Rode (1774-1830), who was the First Consul’s concertmaster and worked for the Russian Czar. Both were also composers and dressed like this, in the fashion of the day—no doubt setting the tone…

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