Study for Self-Portrait of the Artist and His Family in His Studio

MAKER:
Artist

Paul Claude-Michel Carpentier ( French, 1787 - 1877 )

DATE:
c. 1833
more object details

General Description

This drawing is a fully realized study for Paul Carpentier’s painting Self-portrait of the Artist and his Family in his Studio. Standing before his easel holding brushes and his palette, the artist confidently gazes outward. His wife, Adèle, and eleven-year-old daughter, Clémence, lovingly admire the very painting in which they are posing. Though a triple portrait, in many ways, the work's true subject is Carpentier’s professional status. Set in his studio, the drawing showcases the tools of the educated painter’s trade: easels, books, plaster casts of antique statuary from which to copy, and a wood chest containing art supplies.

Carpentier gave particular prominence to the painted plaster cast of Jean-Antoine Houdon’s Seated Voltaire, which he bought from the 18th-century French sculptor’s estate. The French Enlightenment philosopher held personal meaning for Carpentier; he later gave the cast to the municipal library in his hometown of Rouen, where Voltaire first published his Lettres philosophiques in 1733.

Adapted from

  • Nicole Myers, DMA label copy, 2017.

  • DMA unpublished material.

Fun Facts

  • Days after acquiring the painting Self-Portrait of the Artist and His Family in His Studio (2014.38.FA), the Dallas Museum of Art was gifted this preparatory drawing.

Web Resources

  • Dallas Museum of Art, Uncrated
    Read a DMA blog post about the acquisition of the Carpentier painting Self-Portrait of the Artist and His Family in his Studio.

  • Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide
    Check out this essay on Paul Carpentier's Self-Portrait of the Artist and His Family in his Studio by Martha MacLeod.