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Henri-Pierre Danloux, The Baron de Besenval in his Salon

Key facts
Full title The Baron de Besenval in his Salon
Artist Henri-Pierre Danloux
Artist dates 1753 - 1809
Date made 1791
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 46.5 × 37 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 2004
Inventory number NG6598
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Baron de Besenval in his Salon
Henri-Pierre Danloux

Pierre-Joseph-Victor de Besenval was an eminent military man and art collector. His association with the circle around Queen Marie Antoinette prompted his flight to his native Switzerland in 1789, during the French Revolution, but he was arrested while fleeing. He avoided the guillotine and was released from prison in 1790.

This portrait was probably painted by Danloux in 1791, the year the baron died. Funded by inheritances and by generous salaries, awards and pensions, the baron had spent lavishly throughout his life, forming a collection of paintings and oriental porcelain. Having lived an eventful life in which he risked death both on the battlefield and due to his connection with the royal court, the baron relaxes in an environment stamped by his style and personality. Danloux presents him as a collector of refinement and taste in a painting that is itself an object of consummate skill.

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