Portrait of the Sisters Zénaïde and Charlotte Bonaparte

Object Details

Title:

Portrait of the Sisters Zénaïde and Charlotte Bonaparte

Artist/Maker(s):

Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748 - 1825)

Culture:

French

Date:

1821

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

129.5 x 100.6 cm (51 x 39 5/8 in.)

See more

See less

The sisters Zénaïde and Charlotte Bonaparte, Napoleon's nieces, embrace as they read a letter from their father, Joseph Bonaparte, who was exiled in the United States while they lived in Brussels, Belgium, after Napoleon's fall from power. The folds of the carefully creased paper are realistically rendered, and the viewer can even decipher a Philadelphia address on the letter.

Jacques-Louis David juxtaposed the sisters' different personalities through their contrasting expressions and attire. The elder Zénaïde appears worldly and elegant in a low-cut black velvet dress. Sitting upright, she looks frankly out at the viewer as she protects her younger sister, Charlotte. Charlotte appears timid and reticent as she shyly raises her eyes, and her dress, a modest gray-blue silk, suits her demeanor. The exiled princesses both wear tiaras and sit on a red velvet couch embroidered with golden bees, the Bonaparte family emblem.

Provenance
1820/1821 - 1844

King Joseph Bonaparte of Spain, 1768 - 1844 (Paris, France; Naples, Italy; Madrid, Spain; Bordentown, New Jersey), commissioned from the artist, 1820/1821; by inheritance to his daughter Zénaïde Charlotte Julie Bonaparte, 1844.

1844 - 1854

Zénaïde Charlotte Julie Bonaparte, princess of Canino, 1801 - 1854, by inheritance to her daughter, Julie Charlotte Zénaïde Pauline Laetitia Désirée Bartholomée Bonaparte, 1854.

1854 - 1900

Julie Charlotte Zénaïde Pauline Laetitia Désirée Bartholomée Bonaparte, marchesa di Roccagiovine, 1830 - 1900 (Rome, Italy), by inheritance to her son, the marchese di Roccagiovine, 1900.

1900 - still in 1930

Marchese di Roccagiovine

by 1938 - 1986

Private Collection (Switzerland), sold to Wildenstein and Company, 1986.

1986

Wildenstein & Company (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986.

Exhibitions
Twelfth Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (May 1823) (Cat. 269)
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, (Philadelphia), May to May, 1823
Federal Philadelphia, 1785-1825: The Athens of the Western World (July 5 to September 20, 1987) (Cat. 228)
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, (Philadelphia), July 5 to September 20, 1987
Jacques-Louis David, 1748 - 1825 (October 26, 1989 to February 12, 1990) (Cat. 231)
  • Musée du Louvre, (Paris), October 26, 1989 to February 12, 1990
Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile (February 1 to September 5, 2005) (Cat. 54)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 1 to April 24, 2005
  • The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, (Williamstown), June 5 to September 5, 2005
Bibliography

Aocoon, L. [pseud.]. Review of the Twelfth Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Poulson's American Daily Advertiser [Philadelphia] (May 22, 1823).

Twelfth Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, May, 1823, exh. cat. (Philadelphia: John Bioren, 1823), p. 14, no. 269.

Thomé de Gamond, Aimé. Vie de David, premier peintre de Napoléon (Brussels: H. Tarlier, 1826), pp. 212, 242.

Mahul, Alphonse. Annuaire nécrologique, ou supplément annuel et continuation de toutes les biographies ou dictionnaires historiques [...] Année 1825 (Paris: Baudouin frères, 1826), p. 142.

Coupin, Pierre-Alexandre. Essai sur J. L. David, peintre d'histoire, ancien membre de l'Institut, officier de la Légion-d'honneur (Paris: Jules Renouard, 1827), p. 57.

Blanc, Charles. Histoire des peintres français au dix-neuvième siècle. Vol. 1 (Paris: Cauville frères, 1845), p. 212.

Delécluze, Étienne Jean. Louis David, son école et son temps: Souvenirs (Paris: Didier, 1855; repr., with preface and notes by Jean-Pierre Mouilleseaux, Paris: Macula, 1983), pp. 368n1, 496n8.

Du Seigneur, Jean. "Appendice à la notice de P. Chaussard sur Louis David." Revue universelle des arts 18 (1863-64), p. 367.

David, J. L. Jules. Le peintre Louis David, 1748-1825. 2 vols. (Paris: Victor Havard, 1880), vol. 1, pp. 567-68, 650-51.

Bertin, Georges. 1815-1832: Joseph Bonaparte en Amérique (Paris: Librairie de la nouvelle revue, 1893), pp. 286-88, 418, 421 (Toulon version).

Saunier, Charles. Louis David (Paris: Renouard, 1903), p. 119.

Rosenthal, Léon. Louis David (Paris: Librairie de l'art ancien et moderne, 1904), p. 168 (Toulon version).

Lafenestre, Georges, and Eugène Richtenberger. Rome: Les musées, les collections particulières, les palais (Paris: Librairies-imprimeries réunies, 1905), p. 287 (Museo Napoleonico version).

Boyer, Ferdinand. "Le musée napoléonien du comte J.-N. Primoli à Rome." Revue des études napoléoniennes (March-April 1925), p. 174, under no. 12.

Boyer, Ferdinand. "Les oeuvres d'artistes français au musée napoléonien de Rome." Bulletin de la société de l'histoire de l'art français (1929), p. 100.

Boyer, Ferdinand. "Le musée napoléonien de Rome." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 3 (January-June 1930), pp. 258, 260.

Cantinelli, Richard. Jacques-Louis David, 1748-1825 (Paris and Brussels: Éditions G. Van Oest, 1930), p. 115, under no. 154.

Les chefs-d'oeuvre des musées de province. IIe exposition. Portraits et scènes de genre, école française, 1650-1830, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée Carnavalet, 1930), p. 8, under no. 18.

Gros, ses amis, ses élèves, exh. cat. (Paris: Petit Palais, 1936), p. 149, under no. 221.

Florisoone, Michel. David: Exposition en l'honneur du deuxième centenaire de sa naissance, exh. cat. (Paris: Orangerie; Éditions des musées nationaux, 1948), p. 102, under no. M.O. 75.

Pietrangeli, Carlo. Il Museo Napoleonico: Guida (Rome: Museo Napoleonico, 1950), p. 92, under no. 26.

Hautecoeur, Louis. Louis David (Paris: La table ronde, 1954), p. 251.

Île de France, Brabant, exh. cat. (Sceaux, France: Musée de l'Île de France, 1962), p. 72, under no. 178.

Bazin, Germain. "Jacques-Louis David." In Kindlers Malerei Lexikon. Vol. 2 (Zurich: Kindlers Verlag, 1965), p. 43.

Pietrangeli, Carlo. Museo napoleonico "Primoli": Guida. 2nd ed. (1960; repr., Rome: SPQR, 1966), p. 105, under no. 26.

González-Palacios, Alvar. David e la pittura napoleonica (Milan: Fabbri, 1967), pp. 15, 45, pl. 19 (illustrates Museo Napoleonico version).

Verbraeken, René. Jacques-Louis David jugé par ses contemporains et par la postérité (Paris: Léonce Laget, 1973), pp. 102n3, 249.

Wildenstein, Daniel and Guy. Documents complémentaires au catalogue de l'oeuvre de Louis David (Paris: Fondation Wildenstein, 1973), pp. 220, 222.

Arizzoli-Clementel, Pierre. "L'ambassade de France près le Saint-Siège, Villa Bonaparte." Revue de l'art 28 (1975), p. 12, fig. 5 (illustrates Toulon version).

Brookner, Anita. Jacques-Louis David (London: Chatto & Windus, 1980), p. 186 (Museo Napoleonico version).

Schnapper, Antoine. David: Témoin de son temps (Paris: Bibliothèque des arts, 1980), p. 288-89, fig. 182 (illustrates Toulon version).

Schnapper, Antoine. David. Helga Harrison, trans. (New York: Alpine Fine Arts, 1982), pp. 288-89, fig. 182 (illustrates Toulon version).

Coekelberghs, Denis, and Pierre Loze, eds. 1770-1830: Autour du néo-classicisme en Belgigue, exh. cat. (Brussels: Musée communal des beaux-arts d'Ixelles, 1985), p. 420, under no. 414, entry by Antoine Schnapper.

Nanteuil, Luc de. Jacques-Louis David (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1985), pp. 53, 70, fig. 72 (illustrates Toulon version).

Dieu, Jean. "Le séjour à Bruxelles de Jacques Louis David (1816-1825) et son influence sur l'école belge." Mémoire de licence (Université libre de Bruxelles, 1985), pp. 125-26, 131, 151, fig. 16 (illustrates Museo Napoleonico version).

Rosenberg, Pierre. "Correction." The Burlington Magazine 129, no. 1007 (February 1987), p. 152.

Garvan, Beatrice B. Federal Philadelphia, 1785-1825: The Athens of the Western World, exh. cat. (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1987) pp. 60-61, fig. 38; checklist p. 13, no. 228.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988), unpaginated, no. 37, ill.

Le musée à cent ans, exh. cat. (Toulon: Musée de Toulon, 1988), p. 190, entry by Antoine Schnapper.

Schnapper, Antoine, and Arlette Sérullaz. "Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825)." La revue du Louvre et des musées de France 39, no. 4 (1989), p. 210.

Schnapper, Antoine, et al. Jacques-Louis David, 1748-1825, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée du Louvre; Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1989), pp. 514-15, 530-32, no. 231, ill.

Agius-d'Yvoire, Elisabeth. "Chronologie." In Jacques-Louis David, 1748-1825, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée du Louvre; Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1989), p. 627.

Rosenblum, Robert. "Reconstructing David." Art in America 78, no. 5 (May 1990), pp. 192, 257, ill.

Spencer-Longhurst, Paul. "State of the Art: David." Apollo, n.s., 131, no. 336 (February 1990), p. 108.

Nanteuil, Luc de. Jacques-Louis David. Rev. ed. (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1990), p. 45, fig. 62 (illustrates Toulon version).

Johnson, Dorothy. Jacques-Louis David: Art in Metamorphosis (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 224-25, 229, fig. 111.

Mantion, Jean-Rémy. "David en toutes lettres." In David contre David. 2 vols. (Paris: La documentation française, 1993), vol. 2, p. 809.

Johnson, Dorothy. "L'expérience de l'exil: L'art de David à Bruxelles." In David contre David. 2 vols. (Paris: La documentation française, 1993), vol. 2, pp. 1028-29.

Coekelberghs, Denis, and Pierre Loze. "David à Bruxelles et la peinture en Belgique." In David contre David. 2 vols. (Paris: La documentation française, 1993), vol. 2, p. 1061.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995), unpaginated, no. 37, ill., entry by Burton B. Fredericksen.

Johnson, Dorothy. Jacques-Louis David: The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 34-35, 37, fig. 25.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 32, ill.

Lee, Simon. David (London: Phaidon, 1999), pp. 295-97, fig. 188.

Jones, Sue, and Kathryn Calley Galitz. "Jacques-Louis David's Portrait of Comtesse Vilain XIII and Her Daughter." The Burlington Magazine 142, no. 1166 (May 2000), p. 30.

Stroud, Patricia Tyson. The Emperor of Nature: Charles-Lucien Bonaparte and His World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), pp. 27, 318n54, pl. 7.

Sotheby's, London. Old Master Drawings. July 5, 2000, p. 103, under lot 91.

Stroud, Patricia Tyson. The Man Who Had Been King: The American Exile of Napoleon's Brother Joseph (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), pp. 91-92, fig. 21.

Sainte Fare Garnot, Nicolas, et al. Jacques-Louis David, 1748-1825, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée Jacquemart-André, 2005), pp. 27, 144, under no. 56.

Bordes, Philippe. Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, with Yale University Press, 2005), pp. 293, 304, under nos. 48-49; p. 316, under nos. 52-53; pp. 319-23, no. 54, ill.; p. 326, under no. 55.

Carbone, Teresa A., et al. American Paintings in the Brooklyn Museum: Artists Born by 1876. 2 vols. (Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum, with D. Giles, 2006), vol. 2, p. 854, fig. 99.

Gretton, Tom. "David's 'Portrait of Zénaïde and Charlotte Bonaparte: Overt and Covert Napoleonic Subjects in the Summer of 1821." In David After David (Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, with Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 205-17, figs. 84, 85, 88, pl. 8.

Chevalier, Kristell. David: À la recherche du héros perdu (Paris: Bernard Giovanangeli, 2009), pp. 162-63, 166.

Related Media
  • /
    Audio: Zénaïde and Charlotte Bonaparte (Highlights)
  • /
    Audio: Zénaïde and Charlotte Bonaparte (Descriptions)