This lovely matron holds her carnation - identifying herself as a supporter of the rising revolution-minded French, aligning increasingly against the tyranny and royal power of the King. A moment in time: As the artist, Racher, was working on this woman's portrait in 1888, France was falling into and economic crisis The population growth had outpaced food supply and a severe winter resulted in famine and widespread starvation. There were bread riots in Paris due to rising prices. A collision of reason, the human and political crisis all centered on King Louis XVI, and all came to full revolt very soon after this portrait, French Revolution officially began - it was the fisherwomen who stormed Versailles and armed with their gutting knives, laid waste to many as others fled. They then took all they could carry, and shredded paintings, riches like tapestry and silk velvet & embroidered bedding. In the next year, The Terror was in full swing, heads of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette already lost. Our portrait subject, unidentified unless "Alexandra Racher 1729-1788" in pencil on back is her rather than her artist, declares with the flower she holds, which political position she held. Without that flower, everything about her would more likely suggest she was a Royalist. Oh, the history! Full measurements noted on the photos.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. I love the things we know about her. I've kept so many of these through the decades, always thinking I'd have the time to research the person. Her portrait is nicely done and well preserved, still in the original frame and under her slightly convex cover glass. Pencil notation on back makes me think Racher is not the artist, but the woman's name. And if her life ended in 1788, perhaps she was more politically active than her serene face would suggest. A fabulous painting, both for itself and for the time from which it comes to us.