Black and red chalk with stumping on paper Dated in the upper right in black chalk, 1577·
27.5 × 21 cm (10 13/16 × 8 ¼ in)
Frame: 55 x 48.3 cm (21 5/8 × 19 in)
Edward M. Hodgkins, Paris and London. Sold New York, Parke‑Bernet, December 4, 1953 (as Clouet, with another drawing by Quesnel)
Acquired by Duveen Brothers Inc., New York (as Pierre Quthe by François Quesnel)
Rush Harrison Kress (1877‑1963), acquired in 1959 as a gift to his daughter Diana Watkins Kress, upon her marriage to Drummond Busch Hadley, New York
Edward Fowles (1885‑1971), formerly director of Duveen Brothers, New York
Private collection, New York
1910, London, A Collection of Early French Drawings by Clouet, De Court, Dumonstier etc., Hodgkins’ Gallery
The present drawing is a remarkable illustration of the subtle art of the crayon portrait, which was the great specialty of the French Renaissance. Developed in the late 15th century by Jean Perréal and perfected by Jehannet Clouet and his son François, this very simple technique, involving only black and red chalk on unprepared paper, nevertheless required a virtuoso technique and a sure hand, as well as the ability to capture a sitter’s essence within a short time.
This magnificent crayon depicts a man in the prime of life. His cursorily rendered clothing consists of a trimmed jerkin and a wide gadrooned ruff in the style of the second half of the 1570s. While the sitter’s identity has not yet been discovered, he is dressed like a gentleman of the court of Henri III or Charles III of Lorraine.