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Louis-Léopold Boilly

(1761 La Bassée – 1845 Paris)

Self-portrait in Four Different Views. Lithograph. 21.9 x 21.8 cm. 1832. Inventaire du Fonds Français 44.

Louis-Léopold Boilly, a portrait and genre painter, draughtsman and printmaker, lived a long, productive life and left an extensive oeuvre. He was an extremely hard-working and much sought-after portraitist and, as a draughtsman, a humorous and observant chronicler of his times. Boilly has therefore rightly been dubbed the “Little Master of the Revolution”.

The present work arose in 1832 and thus belongs to his late period. Boilly is probably between forty-five and fifty years of age at the most on this self-portrait and, given its date of origin, it can be assumed that the artist drew on earlier portrait drawings. A striking work, it reveals an unerring sense of reality and is devoid of all vanity. The artist appears introspective, a little absent-minded even, and his short-sighted eyes behind the round glasses look out on the world with a melancholy gaze. Boilly embellishes nothing and makes no attempt to cover up any blemishes. His full face with its slightly protruding ears, striking hooked nose and tousled hair is depicted in an astonishingly true-to-life, almost self-critical manner which gives it a fascinating quality.

An excellent, contrasting impression with broad margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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