Portrait of Gabriel Bernard de Rieux

Object Details


Portrait of Gabriel Bernard de Rieux


Maurice-Quentin de La Tour (French, 1704 - 1788)




Paris, France (Place created)


1739 - 1741


Pastel and gouache on paper mounted on canvas


200.7 x 149.9 cm (79 x 59 in.)

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Gabriel Bernard de Rieux, the youngest son of an immensely successful financier, wears the robes of his office as president of the second Court of Inquiry in the Parliament of Paris. From a large tome held on his lap, he lifts a sheet of paper. Intending to declare the sitter's erudition, wealth, and status, Maurice-Quentin de La Tour placed de Rieux in his study, surrounded by fashionable and expensive objects. Behind him is a richly ornamental screen; on a table covered with blue velvet cloth are books, papers, and an inkstand with a quill pen. A globe stands next to the table and a Turkish carpet covers the floor. These objects identify the sitter as a connoisseur of fine and precious thing--like his father, whose considerable fortune de Rieux inherited the year this portrait was painted.

This large, full-length portrait, still in its original, massive gilt frame, was assembled from separate sheets of paper laid on canvas and drawn entirely in pastel. The most sought-after portraitist of his day, La Tour worked exclusively in pastel, producing likenesses of the nobility and the wealthy middle class that were applauded for both their technical mastery and their astonishing verisimilitude. In fact, one contemporary critic marveled that such a work as this portrait could be created using crayons.

about 1739/1741 - 1745

Gabriel Bernard de Rieux, French, 1687 - 1745 (Paris, France), by inheritance to his son, Anne-Gabriel-Henri Bernard de Rieux, 1745.

1745 -

Anne-Gabriel-Henri Bernard de Rieux (Paris, France; Château de Glisolles, Eure, France), by inheritance within the de Rieux family.

de Rieux Family, by inheritance to the duke of Clermont-Tonerre.

- 1919

duke of Clermont-Tonnerre (Paris, France), sold to Wildenstein & Co. (Paris), 1919.


Wildenstein & Co. (Paris), sold to Ambatielos, 1919.


Ambatielos, returned to Wildenstein & Co. (Paris), 1919.

1919 - about 1934

Wildenstein & Co. (Paris) (Paris, France), sold to Maurice (Edmond Charles) de Rothschild, about 1934.

about 1934 - 1957

Baron Maurice (Edmond Charles) de Rothschild, Austrian, 1881 - 1957 (Paris, France; Château de Pregny, Switzerland), by inheritance within the Rothschild family.

Rothschild Family, by inheritance to Edmond II de Rothschild.

- 1994

Baron Edmond II de Rothschild (Château de Pregny, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994.

Salon of 1741 (September 1 to September 10, 1741)
  • Cour Carré, (Paris), September 1, 1741 to September 10, 1974
Pastels français du XVIIème et du XVIIIème siècle (May 23 to June 26, 1927) (Cat. 34; p. 21, pl. VI)
  • Galerie Charpentier, Paris, May 23 to June 26, 1927
Le Siècle de Louis XV vu par les artistes (1934) (69; p. 41, ill.)
  • Galerie des Beaux-Arts (Bordeaux), 1934
Paris: Life & Luxury (April 26, 2011 to January 2, 2012) (90)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), April 26 to August 7, 2011
Education Resources

Education Resource




The Poetry of Chinoiserie

Students examine works of art that incorporate Asian export objects, and then respond to them using Japanese haiku poems.

Visual Arts; History–Social Science

6-8; 9-12

Single Class Lesson

"Reading" Objects and Their Owners

In this lesson students examine the connection between a person's home and his or her personality.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; ESL (English as a Second Language)

Adult Learners

Single Class Lesson

Related Media
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    Audio: Portrait of Gabriel Bernard de Rieux (Exhibit: PLL)