Description: signed and dated center right drölling p/ 1804
PORTRAIT OF A LITTLE BOY PLACING A CORAL NECKLACE ON A DOG, BOTH SEATED IN A PARKLAND SETTING
Dimensions: 12 1/2 by 9 1/2 in.; 31.8 by 24.1 cm
Medium: oil on canvas
Provenance: Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, December 14, 1977, lot 102 (as by Michel-Martin Drölling);
With Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, Ltd., London.
Notes: When this charming portrait appeared on the market in 1977 (see Provenance below), it was erroneously attributed to Michel-Martin Drölling (1786-1851). Unlike his son, who was better known as a history painter, Martin signed his paintings drölling (the form used here) and specialised in small-scale portraits of which this is a fine example. As well as painting miniatures, he was also employed by the Sèvres porcelain factory between 1802 and 1813, a time during which he evidently accepted other commissions, as the date of 1804 on this portrait proves. While Drölling's precise handling recalls the meticulous technique of porcelain decoration, it is more directly rooted in his study of the Dutch and Flemish Old Masters, examples of which he could study in the Palais du Luxembourg, Paris, while attending the Académie Royale as a young man. The high finish of this small painting and the unsentimental depiction of the bourgeois boy have some affinity with the works of Drölling's contemporary Louis-Léopold Boilly.
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