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Adalbert Suchy "Joseph Marquis de Clapiers, Lieutenant Colonel of Austrian Infantry Reg. No. 3", 1806
FINAL DISCOUNT PRICE= 5900 USD
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This, arguably the earliest known work of the young Vienna miniaturist and student at Vienna Academy of Fine Art, Adalbert Suchy was executed (according to author's own inscription on verso) in 1806.
It shows a relatively young senior (due to his sabre belt) officer of Austrian Line Infantry Regiment No. 3 ("Erzherzog Carl"; white coat, light-blue collar, white buttons) who still wears a helmet with monogram "FII" (for Holy Roman Emperor Franz II). On 6th August of the same 1806, the latter abdicated this throne and ruled since then as Emperor Franz I of Austria (respectively the monogram "FII" was replaced by "FI").
An unusual detail on this portrait is the sitter's French award - Chevalier Cross of French Royal Military Order of Saint-Louis. Several months (weeks?) after the defeat of the Austrian Army at Austerlitz (5th December 1805) the demonstration of a French award decorating an Austrian military uniform does not seem to be really patriotic.
Obviously the officer did not borne it every day; he surely fastened it when he posed for this portrait.
Besides this cross we see an Austrian, introduced in 1789 as award for NCOs (non-commissioned officers) silver "Tapferkeitsmedaille" ("Medal for Bravery"). Probably the sitter obtained it still in the 1790s, before he was promoted to the lowest Austrian officer rank.
Clearly, due to the French order, we had to search for a French emigré who left France in the years of Great Terror and later entered Austrian military service. It is to imagine that this was sometime before he fought against his former compatriots in the ranks of the royalist Army of Princes, founded in 1792, in Germany (CLICK HERE). As known, after several defeats in battles against French Revolutionary Army some units of this emigré forces were included to the Austrian Army. So our sitter being promoted from rank to rank in Austria resurfaced as a senior officer (ranks between major and colonel) in the Austrian Line Infantry Regiment No. 3.
In the attempt to come to his identity we turned to the standard reference source as usual - "Schematismus der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Armee für das Jahr 1806".
Among the officers of the 3rd Line Infantry Regiment our attention was at once caught by a typical French name - Lieutenant colonel (sic! senior officer!) Marquis Joseph Clapiers.
The following search fully confirmed this man as the sitter of our miniature.
Joseph (Jacques-Francois-Xavier-Joseph) marquis de Clapiers-Collongues was born in 1773, in Aix-en-Provence, Southern France as older son of royal officer Jacques-Auguste marquis d Clapiers-Collongues (1750-1794) who later became colonel and Commander of Regiment "Royal Roussilon Cavalerie". From 1792 to 1794 the father's regiment formed a part of the French Revolutionary Army of Moselle, which among others fought against the royalist emigré army (in whose ranks was his son Joseph!) in the region of Lower Rhine in Germany. In spring of 1794 the father was imprisoned by Prussians and on 23rd June 1794 he died in Wesel (now German province Nordrhein-Westfalen).
His son, our sitter entered the French Royal Navy still in the 1780s as a boy, and when he left France he was already a naval officer.
As said above he surely entered (contrary to his father) the royalist Army of Princes - evidence for that is his Chevalier Cross of St.-Louis (it is a so-called "emigration model" that were awarded the officers of that army (see our image nr.26)). It is impossible to imagine that he obtained this order before the Revolution - he was then too young for that.
In 1797/98 he became (at first as NCO) junior officer of the Austrian Navy. We meet him in 1801 already as a "line-ship-lieutenant" (Austrian naval rank corresponding to that of "Hauptmann" (captain) in army) and desk officer in the "Marine-Bureau" of Imperial War Council in Vienna.
In 1804 (he is already Austrian citizen) he was promoted to "frigate captain" (lieutenant colonel in army) and obtained honorary title of a "Kämmerer" (chamberlain).
In early 1806 (sic!) he was transferred from the Navy to the army, namely as lieutenant colonel to strongly loose 3rd Infantry Regiment (this unit was a part of the Austrian Army of General Mack that capitulated at Ulm (19th October 1805); most of the regiment's officers and soldiers became war prisoners then).
De Clapiers' new appointment was surely a reason to order a portrait showing him in new uniform immediately!
He remained in ranks of the 3rd Regiment for the several next years and (either in 1808 or in the 1st half of 1809) he was promoted to colonel with transfer to a new position - as a "Platz-Oberst" in Trieste (i. e. as colonel-deputy of city's military commandant). But since Trieste became part of Napoleonic Illyrian Provinces in October of 1809 (after the defeat of Austria in the Campaign of 1809), de Clapiers returned to Vienna where we meet him in 1810 as a still serving colonel.
It seems he left the service in 1811 - his name is not mentioned anymore in the lists of active officers from this year on.
On 4th October 1815, in Paris (begin of 2nd Bourbon Restoration) he married the 26 years his junior Anne Ernestine de Wendel (see our image nr.17). After the honeymoon the couple moved to Vienna (see our image nr.18 with information about their arrival on 6th December 1815 to Munich).
Marquis de Clapiers died in Vienna on 9th February 1822.
Adalbert Suchy (ca. 1783 Klattau, Bohemia - 1849 Vienna) was a son of a carpenter. In 1802 he became a student of the Academy of Vienna, where he studied under Schmutzer, and where he exhibited between 1820 and 1840. Suchy chiefly painted miniatures and portraits in watercolor, yet, sometimes, he also did pastels and portraits in oils. He soon acquired success and painted a considerable number of personages of the court and aristorcracy, amongst them the Emperors of Austria Franz I and Ferdinand, as well as members of their families. Several of Suchy's works are in the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien (Wien-Museum). In the past, Suchy's miniatures belonged to the many important Viennese and Czech collections.
Gallery "Lemoine-Bouchard Fine Arts", Paris (see our image nr.20)
Collection Olivier Aaron (see our image nr.25)
auction house "Remy Le Fur", Paris, 9th October 2019, Lot 443 (see our image nr.21)
Condition: fairly good
Creation Year: 1806
Measurements: UNFRAMED:6,7x5,5cm/2,6x2,2in FRAMED: 12,9x11,5cm/5,1x4,5in
Object Type: Framed miniature
Style: Portrait miniatures
Technique: watercolor on ivory (oval)
Inscription: verso signed and dated: Adalberth Suchy /1806
Creator: Adalbert Suchy
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!
Creator Dates: 1783 Klattau / Bohemia-1849 Vienna
Nationality: Czech / Austrian
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