JOSEPH-MARIE VIEN (1716 Montpellier - 1809 Paris) - Jeune grecque endormie, Öl/Lwd., signiert und datiert, 1772 JOSEPH-MARIE VIEN (1716 Montpellier - 1809 Paris) - Jeune grecque endormie, signed and dated, 1772

This exquisite example of 18th century art is by master painter Joseph-Marie Vien.

Signed and dated in the lower right: Jos.M Vien, 1772, the work marks a turing point in French 18th century art. Exhibited at the 7th Paris Salon in 1773, the painting was applauded for its return to classical French painting. At the peak of his career, Vien's piece marks a change in French art from the Rococo style to neoclassicism. In its original setting, Jeune grecque endormie (Young Greek asleep) depicts a young, beautiful woman lying sensually in the neoclassical style.

The first owner of this piece was Pierre-Victor, Baron of Besenval de Brüntatt (1721-1794.) Born in Solothurn, was a soldier close to the Duke of Choiseul, and colonel of the regiment of the Swiss Guards of the King. He was also a major collector, as shown in his 1791 portrait by Danloux, in which he is depicted sitting amongst his collection of works, today this artwork is part of London's National Gallery collection. In 1767, Besenval bought the hotel Chanac de Pompadour, rue de Grenelle, which is now the Swiss embassy in Paris.

blog.php-158 Hortense Eugénie Cécile Bonaparte
Pair of table settings

Another piece of rich French history, is this pair of table settings. The incredibly detailed pieces are hallmarked Pierre-Benoit LORILLON, who received his master goldsmith title in 1788. These pieces are from around 1809-1818, and by the marking once belonged to Queen Hortense.

Hortense Eugénie Cécile Bonaparte (1783–1837), Queen consort of Holland, was the stepdaughter of Emperor Napoléon I, the daughter of his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais.

A beautiful and smart women, in 1806 Hortense was appointed Queen of Holland, where she was adored by the public and she herself in turn enjoyed her time in Holland.

After the Kingdom of Holland was taken away from her husband, Louis Bonaparte, in 1811 Hortense moved to an unknown address in Switzerland, near Lake Geneva, to be with her lover Colonel Charles Joseph, Comte de Flahaut. That year she gave birth to a son, which she concealed from the French aristocracy.

Skip forward to today and hop over here to America, a portrait of Hortense hangs at Ash Lawn-Highland, the Virginia plantation home of James Monroe, fifth President of the United States. It was one of three portraits that Hortense gifted to Monroe's daughter Eliza, who was educated at the same school as Hortense in France.

Both pieces will be part of Cazo's auction on December 5. Check out more here.

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