Oil on canvas 32 by 25.5ins; 81 x 65cm; signed and dated lower right, 1754; held in a carved and gilded period frame
Provenance: Provenance: Private collection, France
Francois Louis de la Porte, seigneur of Sainte Gemme was an equerry to Queen Maria Leszczynska (1703-1768), wife of Louis XV. He came from a landed and influential family with royal connections, based in Laval in the Pays de Loire. He married Gabrielle Perrine-Renee Jouye des Roches and resided at Chateau du Plessis-Buret, an ancient fortified castle dating back to the 14th century.
Born in Laigle, Louis Antoine Sixe, called Le Chevalier Sixe, studied under Jean Baptiste Oudry and became a painter in the employ of the Comte dEvreux, the local museum containing examples of his work. Though precise details of the artist’s life are unclear, he is recorded as having painted the King in 1769 and together with other examples of his portraiture that have come on to the art market in more recent years, suggest an affluent clientele and indicate an often over looked, talented painter working within court circles in the latter ancien regime.
The composition for this present portrait is almost a mirror image of a painting by Francois de Troy (1645-1730) of the Comte de Rambuteau, (sold Sotheby’s Monaco, 13th June 1982) so much so that Sixe must have been familiar with the portrait and decided to use it as a template. Having said this his actual painting style is redolent of Jean Marc Nattier (1685-1766) who became painter to the Royal family in 1745, and whose highly influential work was exhibited at the Salon from 1725-1763.
Exhibited: Statements of Self-Importance – The Portrait in Europe 1660-1950, Langston Gallery, London, 2009