The research I've done on this exceptional miniature portrait only further enforces my near-certainly that it is an original intimate portrait by François Pascal Simon Gérard (4 May 1770 – 11 January 1837), the French painter favored by Napoleon and the Beauharnais family for their family portraits. I'd think it was Napoelon's son, but the painting dates 1812 and his only child was not born until 1811, so the child is not the King of Rome. A boy, though, (center-parted hair) and I am more led to suppose it is Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, the son of Josephine's daughter, Hortense Eugenie de BEauharnais (Queen of Holland). The child, who later became the last Emperor of France (Louis Napoleon, or "Napoleon III), would have been born in 1808 and coloring and large blue eyes certainly suggest this 4-5 year old is him. Yes, I do think this is an intimate original work, and not a portrait 'aprés' or 'after' another painting. The collection I purchased out of France last year in which this was one turns out to be a truly fine collection or original works of well-listed artists. If only I could have had the name of the "anonymous" estate, I think there is a connection there to Napoleon or the Beauharnais, as well. I've debated whether to send this directly to Sotheby's, in fact, along with 3 others in the same estate disbursal, but, well, you know our business is with you - directly, and we'll pass along a wonderful find as we always have.
Very good to excellent, signed by the artist and dated 1812. Painted in gouache on very thin natural wafer typical of this genre. The frame is definitely of the Napoleonic era, as well. One small mount rub at about the 10 o'clock position on the painting as can be seen at an angle (see images). The measurements are noted on the photos/scans. Our final 2 images show work of Baron Gérard you'll find familiar. And the mother of this child, by my deduction, shows a strong family resemblance. The pose is also very like typical Gérard portraits, chin tilted slightly down and large expressive bold eyes. Gérard was trained by Jacques-Louis David, another favorite painter of the Napoleonic French Empire.
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