Oil on canvas, depicting the Grand Admiral of France at mid-length, variant after Rigaud's canvas from 1708 (location unknown).
H. 109,5 x L. 100,4 cm (43⅛ by 39½ inches).
Inscribed on the back: TOULOUSE (Louis Alexandre de Bourbon, / Comte de) Amiral & Grand Veneur de France. / [...] fils légitimé de Louis XIV. / Né le 6 Juin 1678. / Marié le 22 février 1723, à Marie / Victoire Sophie de Noailles. / Mort le 1er décembre 1737.
Bears the number Y.o / 78 from the collection of Isabelle d'Orléans, Comtesse de Paris (1848-1919).
Other inscription: Petit Salon.
Frame in gilded wood, bearing a cartouche titled "LOUIS ALEXANDRE DE BOURBON, COMTE DE TOULOUSE".
- Possibly the collection of Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans then King of the French (1773-1850), see History below.
- Probably the collection of his son Antoine d'Orléans, Duke of Montpensier (1824-1890).
- His daughter Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Bourbon (1848-1919), comtesse de Paris.
- Gallery of the Dukes of Montpensier, Sevilla, 1866, n° 31.
- Her son Ferdinand d'Orléans, Duke of Montpensier (1884-1924).
- His wife Isabel, Duchess of Montpensier born Marquise de Valdeterazo, (1924-1958).
- Her second husband the widowed Marquis of Valdeterrazo (1958-1969).
- Sale Gran colección de procedencia real. Pinturas, esculturas, […] y objetos de Arte procedentes de las colecciones de los Serenisimos Infantes de Espana, Duques de Montpensier, Condes de Paris, Madrid, Fernando Duran, June 6, 1996, lot 36 (as Attributed to Hyacinthe Rigaud, repr. p. 28).
- Alain and Catherine Bernard collection, Paris.
While the original is still not located, we know of many copies that confess their debt to the Rigaud workshop. Marcheteau de Quincay, in his recent retrospective at the Musée de Caen, demonstrated that the artist was undoubtedly inspired by Van Dyck's portrait of Henry de Berghe, popularized by print. The original model is depicted in a seascape decorated with an imaginary tower on the right, and wearing on its chest the badge of the golden fleece (received in 1704) and the cord of the Order of the Holy Spirit (received in 1693). Moreover, this last distinction is sometimes represented with variations on the different copies. The engraving, for its part, represents two crossed anchors supporting the arms of the bastards of Bourbon surrounded by the necklaces of the orders of Saint-Michel, the Saint-Esprit and the Golden Fleece, surmounted by the crown of the House of France.
As Grand Admiral of France, the Count of Toulouse was much loved by his subordinates and did not lack merit in battle. Placed at the head of a squadron, he did indeed recognize in Messina and Palermo the authority of Philip V in 1702 before defeating, near Malaga two years later, an Anglo-Dutch fleet. Wounded, he blocked Barcelona in 1706, but eventually had to pull away from the much superior English fleet. The choice of the background navy was therefore essential. Hulst relates the genesis of this second effigy: "That same year 1708, he began the portrait of M. le Comte de Toulouse, son of the king and Grand Admiral of France. This portrait is on a canvas five feet high; in the background is a navy agitated by the storm" (extract from the catalog raisonné by Stéphan Perreau).
The Orléans-Montpensier provenance of our work could suggest that it may have appeared from the outset in the collections of the descendants of the Comte de Toulouse. Indeed, by his son the Duke of Penthièvre (1725-1793) then by his daughter Louise-Marie-Adélaïde de Bourbon-Penthièvre, Duchess of Orléans (1753-1821), this painting could be found in the collections of the Duke of Orléans, future King Louis-Philippe Ist (1773-1850), since we know from the sale of 1996 that it must have belonged to his son Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, or at least to the daughter of him-last, whose cipher is stamped on the back of the canvas. Unless it comes from the side of the kings of Spain, Isabelle of Orléans also being the granddaughter of King Ferdinand VII of Spain.