Description & Technical information

A large number of Trinquesse’s drawings of women depict one of three sitters, who have been identified as Marianne Franmery, Louise Charlotte Marini and Louise-Elisabeth Bain, although almost nothing else is known about them. These women, whose facial features seem to correspond to the artist’s ideal of beauty, appears, identified by name, in three profile portrait drawings in a medallion format by Trinquesse. Each of these circular drawings, including the portrait of Marianne Franmery, are signed and dated 1780.

These models are depicted in Trinquesse’s drawings standing full length in an interior, sitting at a writing table or reclining on a sofa, seemingly deep in thought or looking back coquettishly at the viewer. As been noted of the artist’s drawings of women, ‘His assured handling of red chalk, at once hard and lively, is easily recognizable…Executed in a fluid yet highly controlled manner, they are stylish and elegant, leading some to suggest that the drawings may have been intended as fashion plates.’ Furthermore, another recent scholar has been pointed that the artist’s highly finished drawings of this type ‘often seem to be related to figures de mode(or fashion plates), for which the models adapt their poses to show off their costumes.’
The model for the present sheet has been identified as Marianne Franmery, who appears in perhaps more drawings by Trinquesse than any other identifiable sitter. As Jean Cailleux has described the present sheet, ‘Again, in my opinion, she [ie. Marianne Franmery] reappears in two drawings in the Masson Collection. The first, entitled La Lettre, shows her seated beside a small table on which are a teapot and a cup. Seated on a Louis XV chair she faces the spectator and wears a large bonnet with ribbons à l’alsacienne; she holds a letter in her left hand.’ Franmery reappears in several other finished drawings in red chalk by Trinquesse, including a sheet formerly in the Goncourt collection and now in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and another in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, as well as others in private collections, such as a drawing of Two Women in an Interior in a Parisian private collection.
As Cara Denison has written of Trinquesse’s drawings of this type, the artist ‘was not interested in the facial expression or in the individualization of his sitters; his preoccupation was the rendering of costume in every elegant detail (the flounced skirts and bodices as well as the fancy bonnets and plumed hats). Executed in the red chalk medium and in a fluent drawing style these drawings are small masterpieces in the genre of costume design.’
Jean Masson (1856-1933) gave much of his extensive collection of ornamental drawings and prints to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His superb collection of 18th century French master drawings, however, was dispersed at several auctions in Paris between 1923 and 1927. The present sheet was included in the first of these sales and fetched the sum of 4,300 francs. The drawing later entered the collection of the antiquaireJacques Bacri (1911-1965) of the Parisian firm Bacri Frères.

Date:  1780
Period:  1750-1850, 18th century
Origin:  France
Medium: Red chalk on buff paper
Signature: Signed and dated 1780

Dimensions: 353 x 229 cm (139 x 90¹/₈ inches)
Provenance: Jean Masson, Amiens and Paris (Lugt 1494a)
His sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 7-8 May 1923, lot 227 (‘La letter. Sanguine. Haut., 33 cent. 2; larg., 22 cent.’), bt. Owen for 4,300 francs
Jacques Bacri, Paris
Thence by descent until 2017.
Literature: Jean Cailleux, ‘L’Art du Dix-huitième Siècle: The Drawings of Louis Roland Trinquesse’, Supplement to The Burlington Magazine, February 1974, p.viii, no.10, pl.11 (detail illustrated).
Exhibitions: Paris, Hôtel de la Chambre Syndicale de la Curiosité et des Beaux-Arts, Exposition des petits maîtres et maîtres peu connus du XVIIIesiècle, June 1920, no.516 (lent by Masson).
Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints