Gavin Claxton


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Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845-1902).

‘Madeleine’ is signed by the artist, and also titled and dated 1901. This important full-length portrait by one of the world’s foremost society painters of the period hangs in a newly commissioned bespoke gold metal leaf neoclassical frame.

In the final quarter of the 19th century Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant was one of the world’s leading painters of Orientalist scenes and society portraits – the favourite artist of the English aristocracy – whose patrons included Queen Victoria and the Pope. North American tycoons queued-up with patriarchs of the English nobility to commission portraits of their wives and daughters. The full-length portrait being sold here being a superb example.

Today, the rich and famous dream of being photographed by Mario Testino or Annie Leibovitz, back in 1900 they wanted to be painted by Benjamin-Constant, and his society portraits brilliantly convey the individual personality of the sitter.

Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Salon in 1896, made a commander of the Legion d’Honneur, and with Jean-Léon Gérôme foundered the Société des Peintres Orientalistes Français. Paintings by Benjamin-Constant are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

Dimensions: (framed) 150cm x 116cm (59” x 45¾”)
Dimensions: (canvas only) 131cm x 98cm (51½” x 38½”)
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Provenance: Private UK collection.
Presentation: Fine gold metal leaf neoclassical swept frame.
Condition: Excellent. Professionally cleaned and re-varnished. Ready to hang.


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