Hilaire Ledru (1769 - 1840)

A Young Man Playing a Violin Sold

Black chalk and pencil, circular.
Inscribed L. David del. on the verso.
198 mm. (7 7/8 in.) diameter.


A stylistically comparable portrait drawing of an anonymous sitter by Ledru was formerly in the collection of the late Charles Ryskamp. Another, similar drawing by Ledru, albeit somewhat more highly finished, is a portrait of the chemist Pierre François Boulay in the Joan Taub Ades collection, New York.

The present sheet bears an old attribution to Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) and in fact may be compared, in terms of style, medium and effect, with a signed circular portrait drawing of a young woman by David in the Louvre, datable to c.1783. Of similar dimensions and drawn with an equally precise handling of black chalk and pencil, both drawings reveal the influence of the draughtsmanship of Charles-Nicolas Cochin (1715-1790), who made a speciality of drawn and engraved portraits in this medallion format.

Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 7 July 1992, lot 244 (as attributed to Jacques-Louis David).

Pierre Rosenberg and Louis-Antoine Prat, Jacques-Louis David 1748-1825: Catalogue raisonné des dessins, Milan, 2003, Vol.II, illustrated p.1246 (‘Liste de catalogues de ventes consultés, où figurent des dessins de David (XVIIIe siècle-XXe siècle’).

Hilaire LEDRU

A Young Man Playing a Violin


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