Paul Albert Besnard (1849 - 1936)

Portrait of a Baby Sold

Pastel on brown paper, mounted onto canvas.
Signed ABesn in blue chalk at the lower right.
409 x 327 mm. (16 1/8 x 12 7/8 in.)


This spirited pastel sketch can be tentatively related to a large painted Portrait of the Artist’s Family of 1890, today in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, in which what appears to be the same baby appears. The baby in the painting has been identified as the artist’s youngest child, Jean Besnard (1889-1958), who was to become a ceramic artist.

The Besnard scholar Chantal Beauvalot, however, has suggested that the sitter may instead have been the artist’s granddaughter Françoise Besnard (1903-1998), the daughter of his son Robert. Certainly, the present sheet was once owned by Robert Besnard, who lent it to the exhibition of the Société de Pastellistes Français at the Galerie Georges Petit in 1904.

The attribution of this pastel has been confirmed by Chantal Beauvalot, who dates the work to 1904.

The artist’s son, Robert Besnard, in 1904.

Paul Albert BESNARD

Portrait of a Baby


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