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Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, Marthe Legrix de la Salle, née Agard

Key facts
Full title Marthe Legrix de la Salle, née Agard
Artist Jean-Baptiste Perronneau
Artist dates 1715/16 - 1783
Date made probably 1756-8, the hair modified about 1768-9
Medium and support Pastel on blue paper
Dimensions 61 × 48.9 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Francis Denis Lycett Green through the Art Fund, 1925
Inventory number NG4063
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Marthe Legrix de la Salle, née Agard
Jean-Baptiste Perronneau

Assuming that the inscription on the back of this pastel is correct, this is Marthe Legrix de La Salle (1716–1777), daughter of a successful draper in Bordeaux. She married Jacques IV Le Grix (or Legrix) de La Salle in Bordeaux in 1733. According to the memoirs of her son Jacques, Marthe had a kind, if somewhat weak character, with a taste for pleasure, gaming and finery.

She looks directly at us, her eyes the same sky blue as her cloak, which is edged in soft white down. Her powdered grey hair complements this colour palette reminiscent of a cloudy afternoon.

The portrait is neither signed nor dated, but was probably made in Bordeaux. Perronneau may have made it during his first visit to the city in 1756–8 when he portrayed Marthe’s brother, but then updated the hairstyle on his second visit in 1767–9. However, the costume is from the late 1760s and early 1770s, as seen in other dated portraits by Perronneau, suggesting the later date.

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