Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

DISCOVERY

 

Artist: James Peale (1749-1831)

Title: Portrait of Irenee Dubocq of Philadelphia, 1809

 

Medium: Watercolor on ivory (encased under glass in an unmarked gold frame)

 

Dimensions: 3 ¼ x 2 7/8 inches

Signed and Dated at lr: I P 1809 [ actually representing J P ]

 

Verso: An oval of braided hair under clear glass surrounded by an inset of cobalt blue glass.

 

Provenance


Private Collection (as unknown artist and unknown sitter)

Art Market (as unknown artist and unknown sitter)


Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe (here attributed to James Peale and the sitter identified as Irenee Dubocq )


Private Collection (by Elle Shushan, Philadelphia, the foremost American dealer in American and European Portrait Miniatures)

 

Historical Note: 

Fred R. Kline first identified the artist by James Peale's faint initials and discovered the identity of the sitter by comparative study of a painting by James Peale, Madame Dubocq and Her Four Children, 1807 ( Collection J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY--not illustrated on the Speed Museum website, but illustrated p. 216, The Peale Family, Creation of a Legacy 1770-1870 ).  ( It should be noted that the Speed Museum chief curator Ruth Cloudman received the first offer of this treasure but showed little interest in acquiring it for the museum. )

In the earlier Peale oil portrait, Irenee, the eldest child, is holding a book to her mother’s left.  In the Peale portrait miniature, Irenee is two years older and still clearly resembling her younger self in the Speed portrait.  Based on documented examples, this 1809 portrait bears the latest known date for a James Peale portrait miniature and clearly refutes the suggestion that the artist’s eyesight was failing at this period.

 

Sold to a distinguished private collection

 

 

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