Portrait of Two Children, Probably the Sons of M. Almeric Berthier, comte de LaSalle


Jean-Joseph Vaudechamp ( French, active in Louisiana, America, 1790 - 1864 )

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General Description

At first glance the two children in this portrait might seem to be girls, due to their long, braided hair and sweet expressions. They are actually boys. The cut of the children's shirts and long pants are too masculine to be 19th-century girls' riding habits, although the materials—deep crimson velvet shirts and white trousers—are too costly and fine to have ever been intended for actual use by active boys. The conspicuous elegance of the attire and fanciful hairstyles of these two brothers indicate they are members of a high social class. The opulence of this portrait, the obvious social standing of its subjects, its grandiose scale, and the elaborate carved and gilded frame all suggest that it may in fact be a portrait that Jean-Joseph Vaudechamp exhibited at the Salon of 1842 in Paris depicting the children of a French count.

After having enjoyed a decade-long, extremely lucrative career painting portraits in New Orleans, the French-born Vaudechamp returned to Paris, where he was able to pick and choose both his French clients and the traveling Creoles who still sought him out, thanks to his successful Louisiana sojourn.

Excerpt from

William Keyse Rudolph, DMA label copy, 2008.

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