Pure Largillière

On 16 October 2020, by Anne Doridou-Heim

Madame de la Bussières fulfilled all her promises, appealing to buyers with her splendid looks and attire.

Nicolas de Largillière (1656-1746), Portrait de Marie-Thérèse Jacquet de la Bussières, épouse de Jean-Louis Arnault, conseiller et secrétaire du roi, trésorier général de l'Extraordinaire des guerres (Portrait of Marie-Thérèse Jacquet de la Bussières, Wife of Jean-Louis Arnaud, Counselor et Secretary to the King, Treasurer General of Extra-ordinary Wars), oil on canvas, 140 x 106 cm.
Result: €127,400

We now know a little more about the model for this painting: an attractive woman of around 1700, who was well-known at court and for a life marked by advantageous marriages and widowhood, so common at the time… It was only natural that she should have her portrait done by Nicolas de Largillière (1656-1746), the top painter of this genre in the time of Louis XIV—alongside Hyacinthe Rigaud, however, to whom he left the more official court portraits. Largillière was much sought-after by a wealthy clientele who liked his way of painting them, often in an "unaffected" situation, and always in exquisite, rustling materials. Here he puts the accent on a dress in warm rose and on the attitude of the left hand, pointing to a parrot (evidence of the taste for exoticism that developed throughout the 18th century): a skillful play with gesture to link the different registers of the composition. This Portrait of Marie-Thérèse Jacquet de la Bussières, Wife of Jean-Louis Arnaud, Counselor et Secretary to the King, Treasurer General of Extra-ordinary Wars fetched €127,400 and joined the grand cohort of those painted in around 1700.

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