New portrait of Rousseau discovered
March 21 2016
Picture: Nicholas Bagshawe Fine Art
Philosophy usually makes my brain ache - but when I was at university I did enjoy a course on Jean Jacques Rousseau, one of the great thinkers of the French Englightenment. So when a rather engaging 'French School' portrait of Rousseau came up for sale at Bonhams last year I had a good look to see if I could think who the picture was by. I had no idea at all.
I'm pleased to report, though, that my fellow dealer and good friend Nicholas Bagshawe has pulled off a sleuthing masterstroke. He had a hunch that this picture was by the French painter Francois Guerin, and in what he calls 'a moment of glorious confirmation' that artist's signature was discovered during cleaning. You might think that there are many Rousseau portraits done from life, but actually there's very few; mainly La Tour's and Ramsay's. So this is a significant addition to Rousseau's iconography.