Recently established as the portrait of a fellow painter's wife, this image is the last word in high fashion. The sitter's ensemble, overstated for any but an occasion of high formality, capitalises on a rumpled sash winding its attention-seeking way around Madame de la Porte's petite torso. Her overly bright eyes and eggshell skin contribute to an effect of artificiality. Although Nattier was not capable of Boucher's moments of naturalism, this image marks a shift in that direction, and away from the far more formally baroque language of his state portraits. In keeping with the high value placed on harmonious social relations in this age of Enlightenment, the present sitter regards the spectator with a look of courtesy mingled with candour. She is confident, yet not condescending. Her trust in Nattier is clear and clearly reciprocated.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.
Portrait of Madame de La Porte, half length, wearing a white satin dress with gold embroidery and a blue cloak, with flowers in her hair
Portrait of a young woman
oil on canvas
80.8 x 64.1 approx original canvas; 81.7 x 65.4 cm stretcher; 111.0 x 94.5 x 10.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated centre left "Nattier/ ...1754".
Gift of William Bowmore OBE 1992
Shown in 7 exhibitions
French XVIIIth century paintings, Wildenstein & Co., New York, 1948–1948
O Retrato na Franca, Museu de Arte, Brazil, Jan 1952–Jan 1952
Unknown, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1954, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, United States of America, 1954–1954
A family exhibit, for the benefit of the National Urban League, M. Knoedler and Co, New York, 06 Apr 1959–25 Apr 1959
Great gifts, great patrons, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Aug 1994–19 Oct 1994
The fine art of giving: 90 masterpieces from the William Bowmore Collection, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 02 Nov 1999–01 Apr 2000
European Old Masters 16th-19th Century from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, 28 Sep 2017–03 Dec 2017
Rodolphe Kann, circa 1900-1905, Paris/France, In the collection of Kann by 1900, see 'Gemaeldesammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris' by W Bode, 1900. Rodolphe Kann began collecting in 1880, after his death in 1905 his two sons inherited his collection and sold it 'en bloc' in August 1907 to Duveen Brothers.
Kann Estate, 1905-Aug 1907, Paris/France, Collection inherited by Kann's two sons and sold 'en bloc' in August 1907 to Duveen Brothers.
Duveen Brothers (London, New York, Paris), Aug 1907-10 Sep 1908, Paris/France, [dealer] Kann Collection stock no. 152
Sir Ernest Cassel, 10 Sep 1908-21 Sep 1921, London/England, Purchased by Sir Cassel from Duveen Brothers, Paris 10 September 1908
Wilhelmina Cassel, 21 Sep 1921-16 Sep 1925, England, by descent, sister of Sir Cassel. Wilhelmina Cassel was bequeathed all of Sir Cassel's furniture, glass, pictures, fixtures and fittings and several properties for use during her life time, these all passed to her niece Edwina Mountbatten.
Lady Louis Mountbatten, post 16 Sep 1925, London/England, by descent, Edwina Mountbatten granddaughter of Ernest Cassel
Morton Lee, pre 22 Feb 1946, England, [dealer] Eminent dealer in French art
Frank Partridge, 22 Feb 1946-13 Mar 1946, London/England, [dealer] Purchased by Frank Partridge from Morton Lee, 22 February 1946.
Wildenstein & Co., 13 Mar 1946-1955, New York/New York/United States of America, Purchased by Wildenstein, London from Frank Partridge, 13 March 1946. Sold to Abby Rockefeller Mauze, 1955
Abby Rockefeller Mauze, 1955-1976?, New York/New York/United States of America, Purchased by Abby Rockefeller Mauze, 1955
Agnew's, London, 1976, London/England
William Bowmore, 1976-04 Jun 1992, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, Gift of William Bowmore 1992. In the collection of Bowmore by 1976. This painting was offered for sale at Christie's, London 14 Dec 1990, lot 72, but did not sell.
Referenced in 20 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Great gifts, great patrons: an exhibition celebrating private patronage of the Gallery, Sydney, 1994, np.
W Bode, Gemaeldesammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris, 1900, p xxxi, p v, illus p xxxi and pl XC. p v (list of plates), illus p xxxi (in general room view), and pl XC (as Brustbild einer jungen vornehmen Dame, 78 x 61 cm)
Edmund Capon, Great philanthropists on trial : the art of the bequest, 'The James Fairfax collection', Melbourne, 2006, pp 126–35: p 135.
Christie's London (Editor), Christie's London: Old Master Pictures, St. James's, 14 Dec 1990, p 120, no 72, col illus p 121.
Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', Sydney, 1994, pp 108–72; p 124, col illus p 125.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', Sydney, 1999, pp 17–77: p 31, col illus p 31.
A Marguillier, Les Arts, no 15, 'La collection de M. Rodolphe [note spelling] Kann', Paris, Mar 1903, illus p 4.
Emile Michel, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, period 3, year 43, vol 25, 'La galerie de M Rudolphe Kann', Paris, Jun 1901, pp 385–400, 493–506 : pp 503–04.
M. Knoedler and Co, New York, A family exhibit, for the benefit of the National Urban League, New York, 1959, p 44, no 25, illus p 23.
Museu de Arte, O Retrato na Franca, 1952, p 32, illus p 33 and on cover.
Ron Radford (Curator), The fine art of giving: 90 masterpieces from the William Bowmore Collection, Adelaide, 1999, pp 44, 72 note 11, 73, no 11, col illus p 45.
Xavier Salmon, Jean-Marie Nattier 1685-1766, Paris, 1999, p 262, illus p 262, fig 6. illustrated in reference to no 74, 'Portrait présumé de Marie-Anne Camasse' 1755.
Malgorzata Sawicki, AICCM Bulletin, vol 30, ‘Practical implications of research into non-traditional in-gilding techniques: loss compensation in conservation of gilded objects’, 2006-2007, pp 63–70: pp 64–65.
Margaret Sawicki, Future of losses compensation in conservation of gilded objects: non-traditional in-gilding techniques (poster), ICOM-CO Triennal Meeting, The Hague, 12 Sep 2005-15 Sep 2005, poster.
Daniel Thomas, Art and Australia, vol 15, no 3, 'The William Bowmore collection', Sydney, Mar 1978, pp 272–82: col illus p 274.
Wildenstein & Co., French XVIIIth century paintings, New York, 1948, p, no 34, illus np.
Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 2000, Sydney, 2000, p 58. loan.
Catalogue of the Rodolphe Kann collection, 4 vols, Paris, 1907, vol 2, p 62, no 152, illus p 63.
Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 1992 [for the year ended 30 June 1992], Sydney, 1992, p 67, col illus p 3.
Chronique des Arts, suppl to Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6th period, vol 121, year 135, no 1490, Paris, Mar 1993, p 31, illus p 31.