Ancien Régime Portrait to be Unveiled by Tomasso Brothers Fine Art at TEFAF New York Fall

Nicolas Mignard (1606–1668), Avignon, 1658, Portrait of Scipion du Roure, aged 30 (1628 – 1696) Oil on canvas, 67 cm (26 ¼ in.) high, 53 cm (20 ¾ in.) wide Signed and dated “N. MIGNARD PINXIT / AVENIONE 1658” on the back of the original canvas Provenance: Scipion du Roure (1628-1696), Mas de Tressauses, Camargue, France thence by descent through the du Roure family, Marseille, France, until 2017


A rare survivor of the acclaimed ancien régime portraits executed by French master Nicolas Mignard (1606-1668), the majority of which are now lost, has been unveiled by Tomasso Brothers Fine Art at TEFAF New York Fall 2017.

The previously unseen portrait, with a continuous line of provenance, depicts Scipion du Roure (1628-1696) of Nîmes, aged 30. It is signed on the reverse of the original canvas N. MIGNARD PINXIT / AVENIONE 1658. Many of Mignard’s portraits of the aristocracy went missing during the French Revolution, and are known today only through engravings.

Scipion du Roure, an officer of the Auvergne regiment, returned from military campaigning to his family seat in the South of France and married in 1650.  Nicolas Mignard had settled in Avignon in 1637 after studying in Fontainebleau, and then Rome, where he admired the frescoes of Annibale Carracci and the luminous palette of Francesco Albani.  In Avignon, Mignard was highly regarded for religious commissions, mythological paintings, and most famously for portraits.  The artist’s famous depiction of Molière as Caesar, circa 1650, is now in Paris at the Musée Carnavalet.

Dino Tomasso, partner, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, commenting on the work, says: “Mignard has perfectly captured the vivid presence of a man fully confident of his status: as a successful military campaigner and a scion of a well-established landowning family. The portrait is characterised by an intensity of expression, the fine, clear definition of facial features and fabrics, and the vivid, saturated palette typical of Mignard.  It is a magnificent and captivating work, and has remained, remarkably, in the du Roure family for 369 years.”

Shortly after he painted Scipion du Roure, Mignard was summoned by Cardinal Mazarin to Paris.  In 1661 he painted portraits of the young King Louis XIV and his Queen Maria Theresa, of which the contemporary historian André Félibien wrote: “Their Majesties were so satisfied, that the King ordered him to make several copies and to send them to all foreign courts. Most of the lords also wished to have the copies of them, and desired to be painted by Nicolas Mignard”.

Raffaello Tomasso, partner, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, explains that “Mignard’s images of the “lords” of the ancien régime were lost during the French Revolution, with only a handful known today thanks to engravings. This makes the present signed and dated portrait, which has survived in an excellent state of conservation and with an uninterrupted line of provenance, a rare and highly important testimony of the work of one the masters of French seventeenth century painting.”

Recognised as leading dealers in the field of European sculpture, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art also specialises in Old Master paintings and objets d’art.  At TEFAF New York Fall 2017 the gallery will display a number of magnificent paintings, including works by Il Guercino (1591-1666) and Pietro Fabris (active Naples 1756-1792), alongside important and collectable sculptures in bronze and marble dating from classical antiquity to the early 19th century.

Tomasso Brothers Fine Art is exhibiting at Stand 8 on the upper level of The Park Avenue Armory, in what was originally Company G Room, designed in the 1880s by leading NY architects Pottier & Stymus.  With elevated ceilings decorated in a Renaissance Revival manner, this is a distinctive period setting for the gallery’s presentation of fine and Old Master works. 

TEFAF New York Fall takes place from 28 October to 1 November 2017, with a Preview on Friday 27 October, and offers fine and decorative art from antiquity to 1920.  Now held three times a year on two continents, TEFAF is widely regarded as the world’s leading fair for museum-quality art, antiques and design.

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