Nicolas de Largilliérre, 1656-1746
Portrait of Marguerite de Sève, Wife of Barthélemy-Jean-Claude Pupil, 1729
Oil on canvas, 138.4 x 106.4 cm (54-1/2 x 41-7/8 in.)
Nicolas de Largilliérre, who enjoyed a long and successful career as a portraitist, was sought out early in the eighteenth century by important new clients from the provinces of France. One of them was Barthélemy-Jean-Claude Pupil, who received two judicial appointments in Lyon after his marriage in 1722 to Marguerite de Sève, the subject of the portrait. His wife wears a costume with an embossed and jeweled bodice that looks made of metal but may be silk mounted on molded buckram, a stiff material. The music she touches with her left hand and the words underneath it are for a drinking song of the kind that sophisticated women sang at an evening gathering at home.
By a series of indirect inheritances to Comte Olivier de la Ferrière, his sale, 1969
Acquired by the Putnam Foundation, 1971
 Inscribed on the lining of the canvas on the reverse, evidently copying an inscription on the back of the original canvas, is the following legend: peint par / N. de Largillierre. / .1729