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# 43485

J. P.F. Barrois-Attrib. "Napoleonic invalid J. A. F. Gerbal", extremely rare miniature, 1810/14

9000  EUR
FINAL DISCOUNT PRICE= 9000 USD

( for EUR price see date rate )
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Extremely rare portrait of a Napoleonic soldier who had lost his leg in the period of the 1st Empire.
He is still wearing his most recent uniform - i.e. that of a captain of 57eme Regiment de Infanterie de Ligne (57th Regiment of Line Infantry), decorated with Chevalier Cross of Legion d'Honneur of the so-called "4th model" (the latter was introduced in 1808; it was different from the preceding "3rd model" by its newly acquired ball tips on the arms of its cross - see our image nr.15).
He is holding a crutch tight to his body with his right (left for the viewer) hand. The following inscription runs along the length of his crutch: "A JAMAIS RECONNAISSANT" (English: "eternally grateful"). Whether this writing refers to one of his comrades who carried him from the battlefield (the miniature could have been ordered later and intended as a present for this man), or whether it was meant to be a gift for a beloved woman who nursed the wounded officer to health or who married the invalid - remains a mystery.
Similarly mysterious is also the point in time in which sitter's injury occurred. As it is known, his 57th regiment fought in numerous places between the late 1804 (first conferral of Legion d'Honneur) and late 1813; we would like to name the most important of them. In 1805 the regiment partook in the battles of Memmingen, Ulm and Austerlitz; in 1806 - at Jena and Lubeck; in 1807 - at Bergfried, Deppen, Hoff, Eylau, Lomitten and Heilsberg; in 1809 - at Thann, Abensberg, Eckmuhl, Regensburg, Essling and Wagram; in 1812 - Russian campaign (Mohilov, Borodino, Maloyaroslavets, Viazma and Krasnoye; in 1813 - at Dresden, Pirna, Kuln and Rachnitz.

This wonderful military portrait strongly resembles works of well-known Parisian miniaturist of the early 19th century, Jean Pierre Frédéric Barrois and could with great likelihood be also his original work (for comparison, see our images nr.9-13).

Jean Pierre Frédéric Barrois (1786 Paris - 1841 Meaux) was a pupil of Fontallard and Hersent. He painted some religious paintings as well as portraits in oils, but he "excelled chiefly in the miniatures" (Schidlof). He exhibited at the Salon de Paris from 1806 to 1841 and received a 1st class medal in 1819.
Schidlof adds that Barrois was a miniaturist of great talent who surpassed by far that of his master Fontallard.

Provenance: auction house "Coutau-Begarie", Paris, December 14th 2010, lot 483

P.S.: After a brief research (we searched through the standard reference source - "Etat General de La Legion D'Honneur Depuis Son Origine", 1814, vol.2 - for names of officers of 57th Regiment awarded Chevalier Cross of Napleonic (sic!) Order of Legion of Honor) we arrived at the name of this man - "promotion of 5th August 1804: Gerbal, capitaine au 57e. de ligne, en retraite" (i. e, as "retired" he is mentioned in 1814, year of this publication). The next logical step was to check this name in the online portal "leonore". In the archive of the Legion of Honor you find full information about this man who lost his right (!) leg still in the period of the 1st Empire.
From latter's service list we learn all stages of his military career.
His name was Joseph Antoine Gerbal. He was born on 9th January 1774 and died on 17th November 1823. In late 1804, while a lieutenant of 57th Infantry Regiment (infanterie de ligne) he was awarded Chevalier Cross of the Legion d'Honneur. On 20th February 1809 he was promoted (while serving in the same 57th regiment!) to captain and, two months later, on 19th April, at the Battle of Thann (Bavaria), he received a bullet wound in the middle part of his right (sic!!) leg. After the hospital he was transferred from the field army to a depot in France. In 1810 the walking problems forced him to use a crutch and, finally, on 1st July 1811 (after the amputation of his right leg) he retired from the army.
So, this important information led us to date this miniature as having been made between 1810 (he receives his crutch) and 1814 (upon the return of Bourbons, the profile of the emperor on the Cross of Legion (looks to the left; our case!) was replaced by that of King Henri IV (looks to the right)).


mifeb28ap11

Condition: good; in original wooden empire frame

Creation Year: 1808/13

Measurements: UNFRAMED:7,3x6,4cm/2,9x2,5in FRAMED: 10,4x9,7cm/4,1x3,8in

Object Type: Framed miniature

Style: Portrait Miniatures

Technique: watercolor on ivory

Inscription: inscribed along the length of the crutch: A JAMAIS RECONNAISSANT

Creator: Jean Pierre Frédéric Barrois
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!

Creator Dates: 1786 Paris-1841 Meaux

Nationality: French

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