Discover all 14 City of Paris museums

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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Marietta, or Roman Odalisque
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux - Mademoiselle Fiocre
Louis-Ferdinand  Lachassaigne - Vase - Van Dyck painting his first canvas
Charles Durand dit Carolus-Duran - Mademoiselle de Lancey
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres - Francis I Receives the Last Breaths of Leonardo da Vinci
Eugène Delacroix - Combat of the Giaour and the Pasha
Jacob Mardochée known as Jacob Petit - Mameluke clock
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux - Buste de Samuel Welles de La Valette
Gustave Courbet - Courbet au chien noir
Édouard Manet - Portrait of Théodore Duret
Louis Léopold Boilly - Portrait of Mademoiselle Athénaïs d’Albenas
Paul Gauguin - Old Man with a Stick
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux - Ugolino
Jan  Van Beers   - Les funérailles de Charles le Bon, Comte de Flandre, célébrées à Bruges dans l’église Saint-Christophe le 22 avril 1127
Gustave Courbet - La sieste pendant la saison des foins (montagne du Doubs)
Alfred de Dreux - Portrait of Mr and Mrs Mosselman and their two daughters
Jean-Désiré Ringel d'Illzach - Portrait of Jeanne et Mrs Albert Dammouse
Octave  Penguilly L’Haridon  - Côtes de Belleville
Gustave Doré - The Vale of Tears
Gustave Doré - L’Ascension
Camille  Pissarro - Le Pont Royal et le Pavillon de Flore
Paul Delaroche - Portrait d'Horace Delaroche
Théobald Chartran - Priam asking Achilles for the return of Hector's body
 Escalier de cristal - Ecran de cheminée

Portrait of Mademoiselle Athénaïs d’Albenas

Louis Léopold
La Bassée (Nord), 1761 – Paris, 1845
Oil on canvas
H. : 65 ; W. : 54,5 cm

This charming portrait depicts the features of the daughter of Jean-Joseph d’Albenas, an officer in the Touraine regiment who distinguished himself in the American War of Independence before settling in Toulouse. Athénaïs is wearing a high-waisted light-coloured dress with puffed sleeves in the style popular with women in the late First Empire.

The slanting light which illuminates the young girl’s silhouette from top to bottom differs from that of the landscape. It actually corresponds to the light in the studio in which the young model posed.

The undulating landscape is just a backdrop framing the portrait, a technique used by the early studio photographers. With its pretty sky dotted with clouds and succession of light and dark grounds, it follows the rules of composition for a traditional landscape and draws the eye from the factory on top of the hill towards a waterfall spanned by a little bridge in the foreground.

Boilly’s work, which describes the life of the middle classes in Parisian society in stylised scenes, was very popular under the Empire and up until the 1830s. From 1800 onwards, his compositions became more complex and were peopled with numerous figures. As wry descriptions of modern life, they are meticulously executed with a refined palette. The artist became enthusiastic about the new technique of lithography and blazed the trail for a long line of 19th century caricaturists with his Recueil de grimaces [Compendium of Grimaces] published in 1823, which was to influence Daumier.

His gift for observation and the need to provide a source of income led him to paint a large number of portraits in every style: family portraits (La famille Gohin, 1787, Paris, Musée des Arts décoratifs), group portraits, facial studies (Lille, Musée des Beaux-Arts) or little half-length studies (Paris, Musée Marmottan). His full-length portraits against landscape backgrounds are his most refined work.

Marks Inscriptions Hall-marks: 
Signed and dated bottom right : L. Boilly 1807
Inventory number: 
Inventory number : PDUT01983
Acquisition details : Purchase, 1999
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