Portrait of Antoine-Thomas-Laurent Goupil (1782-1820), small full-length, in a blue coat and buff breeches
oil on canvas
2834 x 2314 in. (73 x 59.1 cm.)
(Possibly) with Hector Brame, Paris, circa 1920.
(Possibly) M. de Boislisle, by whom sold circa 1930.
(Possibly) with Galerie Dru, Paris, circa 1930.
(Possibly) with Bauguiès (?Baugniès), 22 April 1930.
(Possibly) Acquired by Chalas, Neuilly, June 1932.
with Robert Hellbrandt, Paris, through whom acquired by the following,
with Galerie Barbizon, before 1992, from whom acquired by the present owners.
A. van de Sandt, Les frères Sablet (1775-1815), peintures, dessins, gravures, Rome, 1985, p. 6, fig. 5.
A. Scottez-de Wambrechies, Boilly (1761-1845): Un grand peintre français de la Révolution à la Restauration, exhibition catalogue, Lille, 1988, p. 106, illustrated.
W.A. Liedke, Masterworks from the Musée Des Beaux-arts, Lille, Lille, 1992, p. 146, under no. 31.
S.L. Siegfried, The Art of Louis-Léopold Boilly: Modern Life in Napoleonic France, New Haven and London, 1995, p. 204, note 83.
É. Bréton and P. Zuber, Louis-Léopold Boilly : le peintre de la société parisienne de Louis XVI à Louis-Philippe, Paris, 2019, I, pp. 58, 82 and 291; II, pp. 464, 642-643, 701 and 778, no. 661 P and under no. 59P, 844P and 1197PP.
Lille, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Boilly (1761-1845), 4 November 2011-6 February 2012, no. 109, with entry by A. Scottez-de Wambrechies.
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Lot Essay

Boilly was one of the finest and most successful portrait painters in France from the final years of the Ancien Régime until the middle of the 19th century. His highly finished technique rivalled the greatest Dutch masters of the 17th century and he worked at lightning speed, gifts that made him a valuable and sought-after chronicler of each political age. At the beginning of his career Boilly's portraits were almost exclusively executed in a bust-length format on a canvas of 22 x 17 cm; he is thought to have painted as many as four thousand of these, completing each in a single sitting. However, between circa 1800-1810 Boilly began to vary this format, executing a number of more ambitious full- and three-quarter-length portraits. For the most part these were in landscape settings, inspired by the works of Reynolds and Gainsborough, then in vogue on the continent. Of these we can cite as exceptional examples the pair of portraits executed in circa 1800-1801 of Monsieur and Madame d'Aucourt de Saint-Just (Lille, Palais des Beaux-Arts, inv. nos. P. 1949 and P 1950); Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf and his family at Jouy (Private collection) and its pendant Madame Oberkampf and her daughters (Private collection), both of circa 1803; and the present portrait, executed circa 1805-1807.

Though comparatively little is known about Antoine-Thomas-Laurent Goupil, we can assume that as an agent de change (one of the licensed brokers connected to the French stock exchange) he would have led a life of easy affluence. Through his marriage to Honorine-Zoé Fesquet, he was connected to one of Boilly's most important circle of patronage, with included his father-in-law Jean-Pierre-Casimir Fesquet, of whom the artist painted two portraits, the naturalized German industrialist Oberkampf family, as previously mentioned, and the Soënheé family. Goupil is seated in a relaxed manner in the park of the château de Saint-Leu, known as the 'château d'en Bas', at this date one of the houses of Louis Bonaparte. Sadly, because Goupil's life remains a relative enigma, we do not know why Boilly chose to depict him in such a distinctive place. It is tempting to suggest that he was part of Louis Bonaparte's circle, which included Regnaud de Saint-Jean d'Angély and his brother-in-law Antoine-Vincent Arnault, who was himself a cousin-by-marriage of Boilly. The sleeping dog is a further intersting addition to the portrait; it is unlikely that it is the sitter's own, as it reappears in Boilly's celebrated group portrait of the family of the sculptor Jean-Antoine Hudon, exhibited in the Salon of 1804 under the title L'atelier d'un sculpteur. Tableau de famille. One possibility is that both landscape and dog were executed from drawings not originally intended for this portrait. Indeed, there exists a drawing by Boilly's friend Jean-Baptiste Isabey of the house from this viewpoint (musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et Bois Préau, inv. no. M.M.96.19.1), which Boilly may have used in his own composition.

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