[France, mid-18th century]. Red and black chalk, stumping, watermark device. Sheet: 332 x 210 mm. Framed. Provenance: E. Calando (2nd half 19th century) (Lugt 837); purchased from Emil Hirsch & Co., 1959. From the Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow. Item #401704
A charming drawing, presumably by a close follower of Jacques André Portail. Little is known of Portail’s training save that he was the son of an architectural engineer in his native Brest. His use and expertise in the use of chalks was inspired by his study of Antoine Watteau, and the present image reflects the subtleties achieved by these masters. Portail was appointed designer to the king in 1738 and was soon a familiar face at Versailles. He oversaw the royal maps and paintings, the Salon exhibitions, and undertook the decoration of the public rooms at the Louvre. Portail also painted portraits and landscapes, and made engravings.