12 March 2007

Césarine Henriette Flore Davin-Mirvault

Ok, ok, ok. I'm sure everyone is just dying for another "Oops! It isn't a David after all" story, so here it is.

A portrait of Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni, 1804.

This time it concerns a woman (big shock) named Césarine Henriette Flore Davin-Mirvault. I've been able to find very few web references, and she is unsurprisingly absent from my library of art books. So, if you feel you can trust Time magazine ca. 1960, here are the facts:

Césarine Henriette Flore Davin-Mirvault was "the daughter of a geographer and the goddaughter of a marquise, presided over small dinner parties that artists and musicians, now long forgotten, loyally attended. She exhibited fairly often, was always listed in catalogues as a pupil of David."

Davin-Mirvault's connection with David is clear enough, so when the Frick Museum bought the portrait of the violinist Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni and it was attributed to David, no one should have been too surprised. That was in 1952, and about a decade later, they settled on Davin-Mirvault--but only after they could prove that she knew the violinist. The article continues:

"For the answer to that, [Dealer Georges] Wildenstein went to the diaries of a certain Mme. Moitte, one of Mme. Davin's cattier friends. On Feb. 3, 1806, Mme. Moitte went to Mme. Davin's for dinner. She reported that the wine was inferior, that the fried cakes were undercooked, and that the candles "reeked of grease." As a final social note, she added that Mme. Davin sang and that Signor Bruni "played the violin."

See the image at the Frick's site.


Dad said...

Finally, a portrait of a man that is done by a female artist. You are on a roll. Can you find a second????

Mary Ann said...

well, how about the one from March 9th?

Dad said...

Oh yes, 1+1=2. You are really on a roll. Can you find a third????