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Louis-Marie Sicardi (1743-1825) "Round box with portrait of Baron de Lescure", 1770s
FINAL DISCOUNT PRICE= 3500 USD
( for EUR price see date rate )
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(please note additional 13% tax applies for transactions concluded within the European Union)
THE SELLER WILL COVER INSURED SHIPPING WITH REGULAR MAIL FOR THIS ITEM!
This round marquetry box with gold mounting houses a miniature portrait of a gentleman in its lid. This gentleman is said (in accompanying paper - see our image nr.13) to be certain Baron d'Escure. However, the author of this explanatory notice is clearly wrong: there was no known family of Barons d'Escure. On the contrary, there is was family with a similarly sounding name, the family of Marquises de Lescure. The most prominent member of this family was Louis de Salgues de Lescure (1766-1793; CLICK HERE ).
The middle-aged aristocrat depicted in our portrait was possibly the latter's father, Louis-Marie-Joseph de Lescure (see our image nr.14). His full name was Louis-Marie-Joseph, Marquis de Lescure, Baron (sic!) de Sainte-Flevé. Born on the 25th of November 1746, he began his French court service as "mousquetaire du Roi" in the 1st Musketeer Company. In 1766 he became a Captain of Cavalry in Regiment "Dauphin", and in 1768 was transferred back to musketeers of the King, this time as "Cornette des Mousquetaires" of the 2nd Company. In 1765 he married Jeanne de Durfort, daughter of Marquis de Durfort-Civrac, Colonel (commander) of Regiment "Royal-des-Vaisseaux". Later, he served as the French envoy at the Court of the King of Two Sicilies.
In 1766 their son Louis was born…
And now, a few words about the possible author of this miniature portrait.
Over the sitter's left (for viewer - right) shoulder there is a monogram "S·y (or S-y), which is accompanied by the date "177…" (the last number is covered by the frame). The (written by the miniature's previous owner) aforementioned explanatory notice found inside the box informs us that the portrait is signed "Siy", which is a clear error, as no listed artist by this name existed back then. On the other side, this portrait is of a very high quality, which is an obvious sign that it was executed not by a naïve (nameless) amateur but by an artist "with name".
Additionally, if we would read this signature as monogram "S.y", we would never be able to find a listed artist of the discussed period, whose surname would begin with "Y" (or an artist with the first name beginning with "Y" and surname beginning with "S").
Hence, we are left with the only choice, namely to regard this signature as a monogramm (or, rather, an abbreviation "S-y", which would mean that the artist's name begins with "S" and ends with "y").
And, indeed, our friend, world-best expert in portrait miniatures, Dr. Bodo Hofstetter in his email dated 12th August 2013 informed us we are dealing with an early work of famous French portraitist Louis-Marie Sicard (also Sicardi or Sicardy (Lemoine-Bouchard mentions a miniature by him with signature "S:Y /1771" - see our image nr.15)).
And in reallity - comparison with numerous works of this artist (many of them are to see on web) fully confirms his authorship!
Louis-Marie Sicard, called Sicardi, was born in 1743 in Avignon as a son of Toulousian-born portraitist Jean-Pierre-Antoine Sicardi (ca.1718 - ca.1796); his works are extremely rare: we could find only one of them, which is published on the web; see our last image) and Marseille-born Marie-Anne, nee Scudier. Together with his parents (his father was an itinerant artist) Louis-Marie travelled throughout South France. We know about his 1759 stay in Toulouse; one then finds him in Avignon and Bordeaux. In 1769, at the age of 26, Louis-Marie became an associate at the Academy of Bordeaux, and - in 1771 - a full member of this institution and (at the same time) it's teaching professor. In 1774 he moved to Paris, where soon gained great success at the court. On many occasions he portrayed the King and Queen, as well as other members of the Royal Family. The major part of his portraits of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were mounted on gold boxes and used as diplomatic presents. Similarly, his numerous portraits of other artists, including those of the sculptor Augustin Pajou (1789), Mlle Levert of the Theatre Francaise (1810), Mlle Bourgoing as Antigone (1812), and Jean Joseph Carrier (1816). Sicardi exhibited at the Salon de Paris from 1791 to 1819. Under the Empire, he does not seem to have worked for the court, but he kept a rather important clientele amongst the aristocracy.
Further, Schidlof mentions that "the great part of the works of Sicardi are not signed. He signed "Sicardi" with or without date, sometimes: "S." and rarely: "Siccardi…".
The mentioned notice of the miniature's previous owner goes on to decipher the "poincons de décharge" (impressed into the gold mounting mark) as that of Henri Clavel, assay master working between 1780 and 1788. A later hand amended this reference: in reality, it is a mark of Julian Abaterre (assay master working between 1768 and 1774; this information raises the time margin of this portrait's execution ("177…") to the early 1770s!).
Provenance: auction house "Carvajal", Antibes, South France, 13th of July 2013, lot 153
*We are very grateful to Dr. Bodo Hofstetter for his generous help.
Condition: good; glass over the golden monogramm (sitter's initials) is split
Creation Year: 1770s
Measurements: UNFRAMED:3,6x2,8cm/1,4x1,1in FRAMED: 7,9x7,9cm/3,1x3,1in
Object Type: box with miniature
Style: Portrait Miniatures
Technique: box: marquetry, tortoiseshell, hairwork, golden mounting; miniature: watercolor on ivory
Inscription: indistinctly monogrammed and dated: S-y. /177...
Creator: Louis-Marie Sicardi
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!
Creator Dates: 1743 Avignon-1825 Paris
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