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Jean-Baptiste-Jacques Augustin (1759-1832)-Attrib. "Napoleon's Son", large miniature, ca.1815
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Newly acquired from the private collection in Lima (Peru), it is a miniature watercolor portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte's son, Napoleon-Francois Charles Joseph (Franz Joseph Karl) Bonaparte. Signed "Augustin" this very important portrait is probably an original work of the famous Parisian miniaturist Jean-Baptiste-Jacques Augustin. The rarity of this particular work is aparent, for great Augustin, who only seldom copied after works of other miniaturists, made, in this case, a copy after miniature portrait of his eminent contemporary, Jean-Baptiste Isabey (see our image nr.10 and our web # 25885). The author used here the same technique as Isabey - he painted the portrait on paper, which was (prior to painting) laid (glued) on a thin tin plate.
Jean-Baptiste Jacques Augustin (1759 Saint-Die/Vosgues - 1832 Paris) called himself "the pupil of nature and meditation", and although he had some lessons in painting from Claudiot in Nancy, his talent was really personal, and there was no artist at least in France, on whom he could model himself.
In 1781, he arrived in Paris, where he was received by the Pinchon family, friends of his parents. Their portraits painted by Augustin made him known quickly and secured him with other commissions. The artist gained fame quite rapidly.
Augustin and Isabey were the two greatest French miniaturists of the late 18th - early 19th centuries, and it would be difficult to say who was a better one. They are as different as could be; in modern terminology, one could call Augustin "the naturalist" and Isabey - "the impressionist". Both had a very great number of pupils, and because of that a considerable influence on the art of the miniature in their period. Amongst the best pupils of Augustin can be mentioned his wife Madeleine Pauline (nee Ducruet) who surpasses them all: Fanny Charin, Le Tellier, Fontallard, Alexandre, Delatour, G.E. Lami, Sieurac, Mme Dalacazette, Mlle Hue de Breval, and Mme de Mirbel. Napoleon had a marked preference for Isabey. In spite of that he nominated Augustin official painter of the Imperial Court. At the restoration Louis XVIII made him painter in ordinary of his cabinet, and in 1821 he became Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur. In 1820 he went to London to carry out a number of orders, but he does not seem to have remained there very long. He died of cholera in Paris in 1832.
For biography of the sitter, see our additional image nr.11.
Provenance: private collection, Lima, Peru
Condition: fairly good; dot-like foxings; water stains at edges
Creation Year: ca 1815
Measurements:UNFRAMED:13,8x10,3cm/5,4x4,1in FRAMED: 27,5x21,5cm/10,8x8,5in
Object Type:Framed miniature
Style: Portrait Miniatures
Technique: watercolor on paper, laid on thin tin plate by the artist
Creator: Jean-Baptiste Jacques Augustin
Creator Dates: 1759 Saint-Die/Vosgues-1832 Paris
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