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Portrait of a Woman

Nicolas de Largillière, French, 1656–1746
Oil on canvas
Made in
Versailles, France, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 202
64 1/4 x 51 1/4 in. (163.2 x 130.2 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Contact Us
Object Number
Surrounded by luxurious objects that enhance her beauty and define her good taste, this unknown woman threads the satin ribbons from a string of crystal beads into her hair. The lavish marble-top table with its putto base, the imported Chinese porcelain vase, and the opulent fabrics were frequent motifs in Largillière's art and were particularly popular among the moneyed society that employed him. In a court where nobility vied to be present when the king dressed in the morning, intimate images like this one, set in the bedroom or boudoir, were appropriate for the display of wealth and power.
- 1911
Mrs. Stephens Lyne Stephens (née Yolande-Marie-Louise Duvernay), Paris, France; Grove House, Roehampton, London, England; Lynford Hall, Norfolk, England [1]

1911/06/16 -
Partridge Collection, purchased at the Lyne Stephens sale, Christie's, London, June 16, 1911, lot no. 105 [2]

- still in 1915
Blakeslee Galleries, New York, NY, USA [3]

- 1927
Yves Perdou, Paris, France [4]

James P. Labey, New York, NY, USA, purchased from Yves Perdou [5]

The Milch Galleries, New York, NY [6]

1927/07/06 -
H. S. Rubens, New York, NY, purchased from The Milch Galleries [7]

The Milch Galleries, New York, NY, purchased from the Rubens estate [8]

- 1943
Schneider-Gabriel Galleries, Inc., New York, NY, purchased from The Milch Galleries [9]

1943 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Schneider-Gabriel Galleries, Inc. [10]

[1] According to an annotated copy of the sale catalogue, the painting was sold at Christie's as part of the Stephens Lyne Stephens collection. Handwritten in the margin is a reference to "Partridge" ["Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures by Old Masters". Christie's, London, June 16, 1911, lot no. 105]. The buyer's name, Partridge, is also listed on the Getty Provenance of Paintings Index.

[2] See note [1].

[3] The painting was part of the Blakeslee collection and was in the auction of that collection in 1915 ["The Extensive Collection of Highly Valuable Paintings by the Great Masters of the Early English, French, Flemish, Dutch, Italian and Spanish Schools from the Widely Known Blakeslee Galleries." The American Art Association, New York, April 21-23, 1915, lot no. 108]. We do not know if the painting was sold at this auction.

[4] A photograph of the painting with an inscription from Yves Perdue dated June 16, 1927, identifies the sitter as Madame de la Martellière [photograph, SLAM document files]. According to a letter from the Schneider-Gabriel Galleries dated February 2, 1943, Yves Perdou sold the painting to James P. Labey in 1927. This was the same year that The Milch Galleries sold the painting to H. S. Rubens [letter, SLAM document files].

[5] See note [4].

[6] See note [4].

[7] According to a letter from Albert Milch of The Milch Galleries dated February 1, 1943, the painting was sold by Milch to H. S. Rubens of New York on July 6, 1927 [letter, SLAM document files].

[8] According to the 1943 letter from Schneider-Gabriel Galleries (see note [4]), they had "recently" acquired the painting from The Milch Galleries who had bought it from the executors of the Rubens estate [SLAM document files].

[9] See note [8].

[10] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, January 7, 1943.
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