Emile DE SPECHT
A Presumed Portrait of Edgar Degas
Signed and dated Le 22 Novembre 1878 / Émile de Specht / Paris at the lower right.
305 x 232 mm. (12 x 9 1/8 in.)
A watercolour sketch of the painter Edouard Manet and writer Edmond Duranty by De Specht, which once belonged to Gachet, was recently sold at auction in Paris.
De Specht also worked as a painting conservator, as noted by the journalist Charles Virmaitre in 1888: ‘Emile de Specht is one of our most skilful restorers of paintings, ancient or modern: this art requires a great lightness of hand, and a thorough knowledge of the manner of the great masters: de Specht is, at the same time, a most distinguished watercolourist; it was he who painted the cabinet of Mr. Albert Wolff. This watercolour was exhibited at the Salon of 1887...and earned the author the congratulations of the connoisseurs.’ Indeed, the artist seems to have produced a number of watercolours of fashionable interiors, to judge from a report of an 1891 sale of the contents of the home of the actress Mme. Anna Judic, of which the Paris correspondent of the New York Herald noted, ‘One of the most interesting of the water-colors is by Emile de Specht, and shows the big hall and picture gallery of the house where the sale takes place today, with Mme. Judic standing in the centre. It is a masterly bit of work, on account of the close attention which has been given to the work in the matter of detail. There is also a pendant to it, showing the outside of the hotel.’