Henri Grevedon

Portrait Of A Italian Peasant Girl Before A Landscape

Henri Grevedon

Portrait Of A Italian Peasant Girl Before A Landscape

This exquisite mid-19th-century half-length portrait by French artist Henri Grevedon (1776-1860) depicts a peasant girl before an Italianate landscape.

The hint of an enigmatic smile, the infinite rolling view, the allure of those captivating eyes - it could be a lost masterpiece by da Vinci or a porcelain wonder by the virtuosic Raphael. Old master comparisons are nothing new for Henri Grevedon as he was one of the finest French portraitists of his generation. Raised among the artistic glitterati, he remained in the spotlight throughout his career.

Born in Paris, Grevedon’s father worked for the ill-fated (and ultimately beheaded) King Louis XVI. As a child, he lived within the opulent surroundings of the Louvre - gaining access to numerous leading lights. The fate of his father is unknown but if he survived the révolution he would’ve certainly lost his standing. As such, the young draughtsman had to quickly earn his keep and he did so by devoting himself to drawing.

Having become proficient in old master copies, at the age of eight his flourishing skills were noticed by the eminent painter Nicolas Bernard Lépicié (1735-1784) who suggested he enrol at the Academy. By 13, he’d already won an Academy medal and was considered in the highest regard.

Next, the illustrious Paris Salon beckoned and Grevedon’s works were hung alongside those by the finest painters in France. His reputation was growing, he’d established himself as a rising star.

Looking across his oeuvre, it becomes quite evident that he had a particular skill for capturing beauty. Many of his works depict elegant young ladies with flawless skin, perfect posture, and smoky eyes. His handling was superior and rooted in the Italian Renaissance.

Following a move to Russia, he painted Catherine the Great towards the end of her life. It’s one of 147 examples held at the British Museum. Numerous celebrities also fell under his gaze including Mademoiselle Mars and German singer Henrietta Sontag. In 1810, he married one - the actress Aimée Marie Sophie Louise Devin (1792-1864).

Keen to diversify, it was as a miniaturist and lithographer that Grevedon forged an impressive career. He exhibited the latter at the Salon for many years and won a first-class medal for lithographic drawings. He continued in this vein until 1846 when he returned to larger portraits, exhibiting these in addition to his works in print.

This particular piece was produced during the same year and possibly shown at the Salon in 1847 as ‘Paysanne des environs de Rome’.

Grevedon died in 1860 and his funeral was held at the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in Paris. His larger portraits rarely surface and this is an extraordinary example of his abundant talent. Upon his death, his collection of old master paintings was sold, which included ‘Woman With A Pearl Necklace’ by Johannes Vermeer.

The portrait was previously in the collection of London art dealer Alfred J. Mucklow (circa 1881).

Signed/dated lower right and held within a gilt frame.

Please contact us to enquire about this painting.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 41” x 48½” / 104cm x 123cm
Year of creation: 1846
Labels & Inscriptions: On reverse - label from Alfred J. Mucklow, 35 Cranbourn St, Leicester Square, London, art dealer and framemaker, dating to between 1881 and 1888. Canvas stamp from Ottoz, ‘élève de M. Belot’, a colourman in the circle of supplier Michel Belot (1730-92).
Provenance: Private collection, Paris / Alfred J. Mucklow, Picture Dealer, London (c. 1881) / Private collection, Scotland.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Craquelure but the paint is stable. Areas of thinning, perhaps following previous over-cleaning. One patched repair. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £35,704

Henri Grevedon

Henri Grevedon

Henri Grévedon was a distinguished French painter, miniaturist, engraver and lithographer. A precocious talent, he enrolled at the Academy in Paris at just eight years where he won an Academy medal at 13. He’s predominantly known for his masterful lithographs but also portraits in oil. His sitters are a veritable ‘who’s who’ of dignitaries and public figures including Empress Catherine II, Emperor Alexander I, Duchess Cecilia of Oldenburg, actress Mademoiselle Mars, and German singer Henrietta Sontag among others.

He was a member of both the Swedish and Russian academies and won gold medals at the Paris Salon. His works are held in numerous public collections, such as the British Museum, Harvard Art Museum, Science Museum, and the Rijksmuseum.

Learn more about Henri Grevedon in our directory.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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