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Hyacinthe Louis Victor Jean Baptiste Aubry-Lecomte

(1797 Nice – 1858 Paris)

Profile Portrait of Marie, the Artist’s Niece. Lithograph on Chine appliqué. 25.2 x 25.5 cm. 1835. Meyer, Allge­meines Künstler-Lexikon, II, 381, 61; I.F.F., p. 219.

The painter and printmaker, Hyacinthe Aubry-Lecomte, was taught by Girodet-Trioson, who introduced him to the new technique of lithography in the early 1820s. Aubry-Lecomte soon developed such a mastery of this technique that he came to be called the ‘king of lithographs’. He reproduced a large number of paintings by his teacher, Girodet, but achieved fame pri­marily as an author of outstanding reproductive prints after Prud’hon. Aubry-Lecomte’s technical brilliance was such that his lithographs were confusingly similar to the drawings by Prud’hon with all their lustre and graphic sophistication. The artist’s reputation was correspondingly excellent, the appearance of each new work in his hand being celebrated as a special event by art lovers and cognoscenti alike.

The present sensitively observed portrait of a young girl is an outstanding example of the merits of his art. The lithograph is based on a portrait drawn by the artist himself. The still child-like features of the young girl are rendered with loving and painstaking care. One can almost feel the concentration and inner tension with which she poses for the artist. Aubry-Lecomte’s masterful, highly refined technique produces incomparably soft, subtle transitions and makes the hair and com­plexion almost tangible. Details such as the girl’s dainty ear, eyelashes and narrow lips are rendered with the utmost sensitivity. The purity of vision and sensitive psychological characterisation of the young girl portrayed make this work a veritable masterpiece.

A very fine, delicately nuanced impression with margins. Somewhat discoloured and mildewed, otherwise in excellent con­dition. From the collections of A. Beurdeley (Lugt 421) and Lang Verly (not in Lugt).

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