National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Family Portrait François-Hubert Drouais (artist)
French, 1727 - 1775
Family Portrait, 1756
oil on canvas
overall: 244 x 195 cm (96 1/16 x 76 3/4 in.) framed: 281.9 x 224.8 x 21 cm (111 x 88 1/2 x 8 1/4 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
1946.7.4
On View
From the Tour: 18th-Century France — Boucher and Fragonard
Object 5 of 8

Provenance

(Wertheimer, London);[1] purchased 1889 by Samuel Cunliffe-Lister, 1st baron Masham [1815-1906], Swinton Park, near Bedale, Yorkshire;[2] by inheritance to his son, Samuel Cunliffe Cunliffe-Lister, 2nd baron Masham [1857-1917], Swinton Park; by inheritance to his brother, John Cunliffe Cunliffe-Lister, 3rd baron Masham [1867-1924], Swinton Park; by inheritance to his cousin, Lady Lloyd-Greame [née Mary Constance Boynton, later Viscountess Swinton, d. 1974], Swinton Park; purchased November 1936 by (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);[3] purchased 1942 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1946 to NGA.

[1] Writers about the painting have proposed that it may have been the picture entitled La Toilette which was featured in the 10 March 1845 sale of the Marquis de Cypierre, or that it had belonged to the music hall singer and impresario, Aristide Bruant (1851-1925) before its acquisition by Wertheimer. Neither claim can at present be substantiated.

"Wertheimer" was the dealer Charles Wertheimer of London and Paris, who also owned for a time Jean Antoine Watteau's Ceres (Summer) (NGA 1961.9.50). Viscount Swinton, in a letter of 1 June 1950 to Fern Rusk Shapley (in NGA curatorial files), related that Wertheimer had refused to disclose to his wife's grandfather the name of the previous owner. He reported an uncorroborated tale according to which the husband in the painting was a banker to Louis XV who had tried to monopolize the French wheat market and had thereby brought disgrace upon his family. He goes on to state that the reputed name of the sitter was a "M. de Paris."

[2] The painting is listed in a Duveen Brothers "Callers Book" in an entry for 21 September 1925, when Edward Duveen, Captain Ernest Duveen, and Walter Dowdeswell visited Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister (1884-1972) and saw the following painting by Drouais: "Large picture of an unknown lady and gentleman and child - full-length, lifesize. This is a most important picture, and nothing seems to be known about it except that Lady Cunliffe-Lister says it was bought from Wertheimer" (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Duveen Archive; copy in NGA curatorial files). Viscount Swinton confirmed this information and supplied the date of purchase from Wertheimer in his 1950 letter (see note 1).

[3] Lady Lloyd-Greame was the daughter of Rev. Charles Ingram William Boynton (d. 1928) and Mary Eubank Cunliffe-Lister (d. 1896), herself the daughter of the 1st baron Masham. In 1912, she married Sir Philip Lloyd-Greame (1884-1972), who assumed the surname of Cunliffe-Lister in 1924 after the death of the 3rd baron Masham; he later became the Viscount Swinton (1935) and 1st earl of Swinton in 1955. The Duveen Brothers Records document the firm's ultimately successful effort to purchase the painting that begin by at least 14 May 1925, before the visit described in note 1, when Lady Cunliffe-Lister told Duveen's representative that "this picture [would be] the last she would sell" (telegram from Ernest Duveen, London, to Duveen Brothers, New York, and other documents; Duveen Brothers Records, Getty Research Institute Library, Los Angeles, accession no. 960015, reel 92, box 237, folder 5; copies and transcriptions in NGA curatorial files).

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