Emilie was also a significant patron of Jean Béraud (1849–1935), the painter of belle-époque street and salon life. Emilie gave one picture by Béraud to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, three to the Musée Carnavalet in 1934,78 and one, After the Misdeed, to the Tate Gallery. This is among the Tate pictures now on long-term loan to the National Gallery (L 688). According to Patrick Offenstadt’s catalogue raisonné of Béraud’s work, Emilie was one of the executors of Béraud’s will.79 Offenstadt published five paintings by Béraud which show the interior of Emilie’s apartment at 142 bis rue de Grenelle, where she lived on the fifth floor.80
One of these five paintings, The Blue Sofa (private collection), is signed and dated 1912 (illustrated in Humphrey Wine, The Eighteenth-Century French Paintings, London 2018, p. 224, fig. 4). The rest are undated. The 1912 painting was bought at the end of that year for stock by Bernheim-Jeune direct from the artist and was recently on the art market.81 It shows the National Gallery’s portrait possibly of Mme de Gléon by Greuze (NG 5584). Two other paintings in this group by Béraud show pictures now in the National Gallery’s collection. At the centre of one is Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo’s Lamentation (NG 5589). That picture by Béraud is now in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, to which Emilie bequeathed it, as is another interior by Béraud which shows in the centre Largillierre’s Portrait of a Man (NG 5585), and to the left of it Nattier’s Manon Balletti (NG 5586). To the right of the Largillierre is a pastel painting by Perronneau.82 The Perronneau appears again, possibly in a different frame, and certainly in a different location within Emilie’s collection, in another painting by Béraud which is also in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Interior View of Emilie Yznaga’s Paris Apartment with a Pastel by Perronneau, inv. 36228). All three paintings by Béraud in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs were deposited there by Emilie Yznaga by 1939 and subsequently formed part of her bequest to it.83 Finally, there is a painting by Béraud in the Musée Baron Martin, Gray, which seems never to have been in Emilie’s collection (Interior of Emilie Yznaga’s Paris Apartment with a Lacquered Chest of Drawers, Gray, Musée Baron Martin, inv. 386 GR 82). It shows in the centre a mirror which was in the 1989 sale of the succession of Emilie’s legatee, Petronilla, vicomtesse de L’Hermite, who became comtesse Alain Costa de Beauregard by her second marriage. She was Emilie’s cousin, or, according to Offenstadt, her great-niece. The Perronneau pastel shown in the painting by Béraud was also in the same sale (lot 31).84
The Blue Sofa establishes that the so-called Mme De Gléon was in Emilie’s collection by 1912, but, since none of the other paintings by Béraud is dated, in the absence here of photographs of them it is not proposed to speculate on when they might have been made and hence the date by when Emilie must have acquired the pictures shown in them.
It may have been Emilie’s pre-existing interest in art which prompted Consuelo specifically to bequeath to her, and her alone, old master paintings in her collection, and she might even have relied on Emilie’s advice and contacts when acquiring pictures on the Paris art market. Finally, one might further hypothesise that Emilie vigorously developed her own collection once fortified by the inheritance from her father in June 1909, worth some $3.3 million in today’s terms, and only months later by the annuity bequeathed by Consuelo, which in today’s terms was worth some £96,000 per annum.85 Emilie then had both the means and the enthusiasm to acquire all the pictures shown in Béraud’s paintings. The consequence is that – with the exception of those National Gallery pictures known to have belonged to Consuelo, namely Nattier’s Manon Balletti and Tocqué’s Portrait of a Young Woman – the remainder were possibly bought by Emilie on the art market. As a result, and pending more information emerging, it seems more appropriate to adopt for the other French eighteenth-century paintings in the Yznaga Gift the words which Sir Michael Levey formulated for the Tiepolo: ‘Just possibly it was one of the pictures which passed to her from her sister, the Duchess of Manchester’ (my italics).
By way of a postscript, on 9 June 1909, the same day that the New York Times reported Emilie’s inheritance from her father, a self-portrait painting by Ducreux, later recorded in Emilie’s collection, was knocked down to the expert Sortais at an anonymous sale for 20,000 francs, equivalent to some 80,000 euros today.86 If Sortais was bidding on Emilie’s behalf, it may have been because at this moment in her life, her mood was best mirrored in Ducreux’s triumphant grin.
78 As Christophe Leribault kindly informed me (his letter of 8 May 2001): NG Archive, Yznaga Information File. For the date of the gift, see Manet 2010, p. 178, no. III-59, which is a catalogue entry on Béraud’s La Sortie du Salon, Palais de l’Industrie.
79 Offenstadt 1999, p. 186. In addition to the paintings mentioned in the text to this article, Emilie Yznaga bequeathed a painting by Béraud, Au Palais, to the Musée du Barreau de Paris: Offenstadt 1999, no. 311. I am grateful to Christophe Leribault for having drawn my attention to the link between Emilie Yznaga and Béraud and to Offenstadt’s book.
80 For the five paintings by Béraud, see Offenstadt 1999, nos. 208–212, pp. 186–7. For Emilie’s Yznaga’s apartment, see clause 7 of her English will dated 16 February 1943 admitted to probate on 17 January 1946. The apartment was in an annexe to the hôtel de Besenval, in which the baron de Besenval was portrayed by Danloux (NG 6598).
81 Christie’s, London, 9 December 2014 (lot 14, £25,000).
82 Lot 31, Costa de Beauregard sale, Libert et Castor, Paris, 26 June 1989, apparently unsold, then ultimately acquired by the Musée Antoine-Lécuyer, Saint-Quentin (inv. 1991.4.1): Neil Jeffares, Dictionary of Pastellists. When sold in April 1909 at the Paul Sohège sale it had fetched 3,500 francs.
83 See clause 5 of Emilie’s English will cited above. That clause is drafted in the same way as the immediately following clause referring to the prior gift to the National Gallery, so possibly an effective gift to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs had been made by Emilie before her death.
84 Offenstadt 1999, p. 186. The mirror was lot 95 of the sale of 26 June 1989 cited in note 82 In her English will of 16 February 1943 Emilie Yznaga confirmed the will of her French property made on 9 September 1939. In the latter she bequeathed ‘all the furniture and articles of household in [the apartment at 142 bis rue de Grenelle, Paris] excepting those I may subsequently designate to be turned over to the Arts Decoratifs or other Museums, or to relatives or friends to Vicomtesse de l’Hermitte, born Marguerite Yznaga (generally known under the first name of Petronilla or Petra), now residing at Casablanca’. The vicomtesse (1905–1989) was Emilie Yznaga’s cousin. After the death of Jean de l’Hermitte, she married comte Alain Costa de Beauregard. The Perronneau pastel was in her 1989 posthumous sale (see note 82).
85 See www.measuringworth.com. The dollar calculation is based on relative purchasing power, and the sterling calculation on the Retail Price Index. And see note 40.
86 I am grateful to Cyrille Sciama and to Marianne de Voogd for this information. The value of 1 franc in 1910 equalled about 4 euros in 2015: www.historicalstatistics.org.