Portrait of a Woman

Object Details


Portrait of a Woman


Jean-Étienne Liotard (Swiss, 1702 - 1789)




1758 - 1762


Black, white and traces of red chalk on blue paper


62.2 x 50.8 cm (24 1/2 x 20 in.)

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I claim myself to be one of the painters who succeeds well in producing extremely close resemblance in portraits. I owe this accomplishment . . . to the fact that I always try to give a maximum of fullness and relief in my pictures.

A master at capturing sitters in fleeting moments of informality, Jean-Étienne Liotard depicted this unknown sitter possessed with a remarkable degree of warmth and depth. She leans back slightly and sits with her hands casually folded in her lap, gazing to the side. Liotard's delicate application of white chalk records the details of her flounced sleeves and ruffled collar, and beautifully highlights the subject's attractive features.

Liotard likely made this drawing in preparation for a pastel; the broad application of chalk indicates that Liotard made it as a kind of rough draft. The drawing remained in the artist's studio and with his family until well into the 1900s. Most likely, Liotard kept it as a record after the finished pastel left his studio, though no other such work featuring this sitter is known.


Jean-Étienne Liotard, Swiss, 1702 - 1789, his studio

Jean-Étienne Liotard Crommelin, the artist's son (by descent)

Marie-Anne Liotard, Amsterdam, (by descent)

Madame J.W. Tilanus, (by descent)

C.B. Tilanus, Amsterdam, (by descent)


Societé Auxiliare du Musée Genève, (purchase)

Private Collection

January 23, 2002

Christie's (New York), lot 78

J.E. Liotard, te Geneve (1885)
  • Groote Gehoorsaal, (Amsterdam), 1885
French Drawings from the Age of Greuze (September 10 to December 1, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 10 to December 1, 2002
Casting Characters: Portraits and Studies of Heads (November 4, 2003 to February 1, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 4, 2003 to February 1, 2004
Ten Years of Drawings: What, How, and Why (January 29 to May 4, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), January 29 to May 4, 2008
Jean-Étienne Liotard: A Cosmopolitan Artist (October 20, 2015 to April 24, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 20, 2015 to April 24, 2016