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Charlotte Desmares

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charlotte Desmares
François-Bernard Lépicié after Charles-Antoine Coypel, Charlotte Desmares, 1733, British Museum 1871,1209.672.jpg
François-Bernard Lépicié after Charles-Antoine Coypel, Charlotte Desmares, 1733, etching and engraving, British Museum, London
Born
Christine Antoinette Charlotte Desmares

1682
Copenhagen, Denmark
DiedSeptember 12, 1753
Occupationactress
Years active1699–1721
OrganizationComédie-Française
Children3, including Philippe Angélique de Froissy, comtesse de Ségur
Parents
RelativesCatherine Dangeville (sister)
Marie Champmeslé (aunt)
Marie-Anne Botot Dangeville (niece)

Christine Antoinette Charlotte Desmares (1682 – 12 September 1753), professionally known as Mlle Desmares,[a] was a French stage actress. Scion of a notable comic actor family, she had an active stage career that spanned three decades, performing with the Comédie-Française from 1699 until her retirement in 1721; she was also remembered as a mistress of Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, Regent of France.

Life

She was born in Copenhagen to the comic actors Nicolas Desmares and Anne d'Ennebault and trained under her aunt la Champmeslé.[1] She made her stage début aged sixteen with the Comédie-Française company on 30 January 1699 in Oreste et Pylade by Lagrange-Chancel.[2] In only three months she became so successful that she was accepted as a sociétaire of the company to replace her aunt, who had left it in 1698. Succeeding her aunt as the company's leading actress, Desmares played tragic roles (such as Hermione in Andromaque by Jean Racine, Émilie in Cinna by Pierre Corneille, and Jocasta in Oedipus by Voltaire[3]) as well as comedy ones (such as Lisette in Le Légataire universel by Regnard and Néréine in Le Curieux impertinent by Destouches); along with her company-mate and rival Mademoiselle Duclos [fr], Desmares was a follower of high, formal and oratorical style of acting that defined the Comédie-Française in the early 18th century.[4][5] In light of the younger actress Adrienne Lecouvreur's success that followed her Comédie-Française debut in 1717,[6] Desmares retired in Spring 1721, giving occasional private performances in her retirement;[7] in years to come, she was succeeded by Lecouvreur and, later, by Marie-Anne Botot Dangeville.[8]

Early in her career, she was a mistress to the King Louis XIV's son, the Grand Dauphin, and then to his nephew and son-in-law, the Duke of Chartres. With the latter, she had a daughter c. 1700–1702,[b] named Angélique de Froissy by her father and married off to count Henri François de Ségur.[11] Desmares ended her life as the mistress of the Swiss banker Antoine Hogguer, who built the Hôtel de Villeroy [fr], designed by François Debias-Aubry [fr], for her in Paris at 78 Rue de Varreau.[12][13] She also built herself another mansion, La Folie Desmares in Châtillon, which still survives.[14] She died in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1753.[c]

Cultural depictions

In literature

In the picaresque novel Gil Blas, Alain-René Lesage gives what, though disputed,[17][18] is usually thought[19] to be a literary portrait of Desmares:[20]

"I am enchanted by the actress who plays the suivante in the intermèdes. Ah, how pretty natural! With what grace she occupies the stage! Is it the moment for some witty remark? She seasons it with a smile so sly and full of charm that it gives it new importance. One might reproach her that she sometimes is little too intense, and passes the bounds of decent boldness; but there's no need to be so severe. I would only want her to correct one bad habit. Often she suddenly stops the action in the middle of a scene to give in to a mad need to laugh that overtakes her. You will tell me that the public applauds her in those moments. So be it."

In art

Copy after Charles-Antoine Coypel, Charlotte Desmares, oil on canvas, Comédie-Française, Paris
Copy after Charles-Antoine Coypel, Charlotte Desmares, oil on canvas, Comédie-Française, Paris

In modern historiography, there are two portraits of Desmares regarded as authentic.[21] One of them is a pastel by Charles-Antoine Coypel, dated to the 1720s, and published in 1733 as an etching by François-Bernard Lépicié; the pastel was mentioned in Desmares' inventory of 1746.[22] In Coypel's pastel, now presumed lost, Desmares is shown holding a mask and a dagger, indicating her abilities in comedy and tragedy, stressed in the quatrain on Lépicié's print.[23] An oil on canvas copy of the pastel, once attributed to Coypel and owned by the painter Pierre-Nolasque Bergeret, was acquired from the latter in 1827 by the Comédie-Française, where it remains.[24][25] Another authentic portrait of Desmares, painted by Jacques Aved, was listed in Desmares' inventory of 1753; it then passed to her daughter Charlotte d'Amour, remaining until the latter's death in 1783.[26]

Aside from aforementioned works, Desmares is also widely associated by scholars, to various success, with numerous paintings by contemporaneous artists such as Jean-Baptiste Santerre and Antoine Watteau.[27] As for Santerre, it had been claimed as early as the late 1870s[28] that his painting of the 1700s, Young Lady with a Letter,[d] was a portrait of Desmares, with no concrete evidence to verify it though;[32] in contrary to that point, it has been said that Santerre's subject does not at all resemble Desmares when compared with Coypel's pastel, and it is actually an imaginary figure in fancy dress, often present in Santerre's late-era art.[33][31] There is also a wool and silk tapestry after design by Santerre, similar to Young Lady with a Letter, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, showing a woman in fancy dress holding a mask, once identified as Desmares.[34][35] Another portrait presumed to be of Desmares, attributed to Jean Raoux, was in the writer Arsène Houssaye's collection, sold in 1896.[36]

As for Watteau, it has been speculated by scholars that he had some connection to the actress. According to the Soviet scholar Inna Nemilova, Watteau was a life-long admirer of Desmares, to whom and her company-mates he was allegedly introduced by a friend, the librettist Antoine de Laroque;[37] in an article published in the 1984–1985 exhibition catalogue Watteau, 1684–1721, the French theatre historian François Moureau says that Desmares also "had numerous reasons for meeting Watteau."[38] It was long noted that a print by Louis Desplaces after Watteau, showing a woman dressed as pilgrim, has been captioned with Desmares' name; along with Coypel's pastel, it was also said to be an authentic portrait of Desmares.[39][40] The figure appeared in Watteau's early painting, The Isle of Cythera now in the Städel, Frankfurt, notably related to Florent Carton Dancourt's play The Three Cousins that was believed to feature Desmares as Colette, a pilgrim; a developed version of the subject appears in the lower left corner of Watteau's signature painting, The Embarkation for Cythera. Other paintings by Watteau believed to depict Desmares include The Coquettes, dit Actors of the Comédie-Française, The Dreamer,[e] Fêtes Vénitiennes, and Love in the French Theatre.[f] The supposed connection between Watteau and Desmares became a topic of the 2007 French film on the painter, <i>The Vanishing Point</i> [fr].[57][58][59]

Notes

  1. ^ Throughout her career, she was also known as La Desmares and, as a child actor, Lolotte.
  2. ^ From Madame Palatine's correspondence, it has been thought that Angélique de Froissy was born in 1702, for she was said to be fourteen years old in Madame's letter dated 26 July 1716.[9][10] Pevitt 1997, p. 55, and Petitfils 2001, p. 73, however, place Froissy's birth at Autumn 1700, the same time Charlotte Aglaé d'Orléans, the Duke of Orleans' third daughter with Françoise Marie de Bourbon, was born.
  3. ^ In a journal entry on 24 September 1753, the 4th Duke of Luynes mentions Desmares's death, also recounting her later life.[15][16]
  4. ^ Various versions of Young Lady with a Letter are known in public and private collections, including the Comédie-Française[29] and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.[30][31]
  5. ^ In an 1896 article published in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, the French playwright and poet Gaston Schéfer suggested the leftmost figure of The Coquettes — the rightmost one as etched by Henri Simon Thomassin — to be a depiction of Desmares, upon comparing it with Lépicié's etching of Coypel's pastel.[41] In 1950, the same conclusion was given by the Louvre staff curator Hélène Adhémar, who compared the Hermitage painting with a central figure in the Louvre version of The Embarkation for Cythera.[42] Coming from Adhemar's point, the Hermitage staff curator Inna Nemilova also identified the character — a recurring subject in Watteau's art, also present in The Dreamer (now in the Art Institute of Chicago), the uncertainly attributed Polish Woman Standing (now in the National Museum, Warsaw), and the untraced Polish Woman Sitting — as Desmares.[43] Although accepted by the French scholar Marianne Roland Michel,[44] Nemilova's attribution was mostly questioned among Watteau scholars and biographers;[45][46] nonetheless, it remains represented in Russian and some Western sources.[47]
  6. ^ In works on 18th-century French art, the British art historian Michael Levey associated the female dancer in the centre of Fêtes Vénitiennes with Desmares.[48][49] Though accepted by some authors,[50][51][52]: 53  Levey's point has been challenged as unfounded.[53][54] Similar subject, present as a central figure in Love in the French Theatre, was also thought to be Desmares.[55][56]

References

  1. ^ Lancaster 1966, ch. 10, p. 544; Duerr 1962, p. 202; Brockett 1982, p. 271.
  2. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Champmeslé, Marie s.v." . Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 831.
  3. ^ Carlson 1998, pp. 7, 13; Pearson 2005, p. 54.
  4. ^ Brockett 1982, p. 376.
  5. ^ Gillespie, Patti P.; Cameron, Kenneth M. (1984). Western Theatre: Revolution and Revival. New York, London: Macmillan. p. 303. ISBN 0-02-343050-8. OCLC 1151776890 – via the Internet Archive.
  6. ^ Hartnoll 1983, p. 216; Mazenod & Schoeller 1992, p. 238.
  7. ^ Lancaster 1950, p. 13; Clarke 2003, p. 326
  8. ^ Duerr 1962, p. 210; Rougemont 1988, p. 195.
  9. ^ Elizabeth Charlotte, Madame Palatine (1855). Correspondance complète de madame duchesse d'Orléans née Princesse Palatine, mère du régent (in French). 1. Paris: Charpentier. p. 259. See also Scott 2010, ch. 7, p. 252, n. 21.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  10. ^ Elizabeth Charlotte, Madame Palatine (1971). Kroll, Maria (ed.). Letters from Liselotte. New York: McPub. pp. 88, 184. OCLC 1150211768 – via the Internet Archive.
  11. ^ Pevitt 1997, pp. 52, 5556, 70, 231.
  12. ^ Kalnein, Wend von (1995). Architecture in France in the Eighteenth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 53. ISBN 0-300-06013-0 – via the Internet Archive.
  13. ^ Pons, Bruno (1996). "Debias-Aubry, François". In Turner, Jane (ed.). The Dictionary of Art. 8. pp. 589–590. ISBN 1-884446-00-0. OCLC 1033653438 – via the Internet Archive.
  14. ^ Delbos, Claire; et al. (2011). Île-de-France: Paris et environs (in French). Paris: Nouvelles éd. de l'Université. p. 294. ISBN 978-2-7469-3054-4. OCLC 1204326341 – via the Internet Archive.
  15. ^ Luynes, Charles Philippe d'Albert de (1860). Dussieux, Louis; Soulié, Eudoxe (eds.). Mémoires du duc de Luynes sur la cour de Louis XV (1735-1758). 13. Paris. pp. 6566 – via the Internet Archive.
  16. ^ Langlois 1993, p. 463.
  17. ^ Carson, Katharine Whitman (1973). Aspects of Contemporary Society in Gil Blas. Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century. 110. Banbury: Voltaire Foundation. p. 101. ISBN 9780729401944.
  18. ^ Lancaster 1945, ch. 1, pp. 2526 n. 104.
  19. ^ Diderot & Archer 1963, p. 156
  20. ^ Lesage, Alain-René (1857). L'Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane. Paris: Charpentier. p. 175, cited in and translated into English as Scott 2010, pp. 216–217.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  21. ^ Glorieux 2011, p. 168.
  22. ^ Campardon 1879, p. 78; Lyonnet 1902–1908, p. 526.
  23. ^ Lancaster 1945, p. 20; Dux & Chevalley 1980, p. 234; Standen 1985, p. 377; Carlson 1998, p. 7.
  24. ^ Monval 1897, p. 87, cat. no. 188.
  25. ^ Lefrançois, Thierry (1994). Charles Coypel: Peintre du Roi : 1694-1752 (in French). Preface by Pierre Rosenberg. Paris: Arthéna. pp. 182–183, cat. no. P.40. ISBN 2-903239-18-5. OCLC 231852472.
  26. ^ Glorieux 2011, 168, 374 n. 99.
  27. ^ Pevitt 1997, p. 52: "[…] Christine Desmares, whose sweet face gazes at us from many sketches by Watteau."
  28. ^ Delorme, René (1878). Le Musée de la Comédie-Française (in French). Paris: Paul Ollendorff. pp. 137, 190. OCLC 1157113927 – via the Internet Archive.
  29. ^ In regards to the Comédie-Française version of Young Lady with a Letter, Monval 1897, p. 56, cat. no. 99, and Dacier 1905, p. 163, cited in Standen 1985, p. 378 n. 4, reject Desmares as the sitter, and question Santerre's authorship of the composition.
  30. ^ Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1985). European Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: an Illustrated Summary Catalogue. Boston, Mass: Museum of Fine Arts. p. 259. ISBN 0-87846-230-9. OCLC 901389482 – via the Internet Archive.
  31. ^ a b Zafran, Eric; Rothkopf, Katherine; Resendez, Sydney (1998). French Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Artists born before 1790. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts. pp. 23, 7576; cat. no. 26. ISBN 0-87846-461-1. OCLC 1008522209.
  32. ^ Percival 2017, p. 172.
  33. ^ Lesné 1988, p. 107, cat. no. 58; Lesné & Waro 2011, pp. 81, 110.
  34. ^ Breck, Joseph (December 1929). "A Tapestry Portrait". The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. 24 (12): 318–613. doi:10.2307/3255965. JSTOR 3255965.
  35. ^ Standen 1985, pp. 376–378.
  36. ^ Hôtel Drouot, Paris (1896). Catalogue des tableaux, pastels, dessins, miniatures, sculptures, objets d'art de la galerie de M. Arsène Houssaye. Paris: Hôtel Drouot. p. 45, cat. no. 91. OCLC 1084967636 – via the Internet Archive. Cited in Dacier 1905, p. 163, and Wise & Warner 1996, p. 174.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  37. ^ Nemilova 1989, p. 152.
  38. ^ Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, p. 479.
  39. ^ Lescure 1861, p. 23: "Il existe deux portraits de mademoiselle Desmares: l'un par Watteau (Desplaces sc.), en costume de Pèlerine, l'un de ses rôles. Le plus connu est de Coypel, gravé par Lépicié;" Petitfils 2001, p. 73: "Il existe deux portraits d'elle, l'un par Antoine Watteau dans le costume de Pèlerine, l'autre, de Coypel, plus tardif, gravé par Lépicié où elle nous montre un visage carré et des formes plantureuses."
  40. ^ Lauterbach, Iris (2008). Antoine Watteau, 1684-1721. Back to Visual Basics. Köln: Taschen. p. 56. ISBN 978-3-8228-5318-4. OCLC 1164836547 – via the Internet Archive.
  41. ^ Schéfer 1896, pp. 185186: "Ce tableau des Coquettes n'est probablement fait que de portraits, de ces têtes d'etudes que Watteau crayonnait sur ses cahiers. Quels portraits? nous l'ignorons. Tout au plus hasarderons-nous quelque supposition vraisemblable sur cette jeune femme au nez retroussé, aux joues rebondies, que l'on voit à droit, coiffée d'un grand bonnet oriental et qui rappelle Mlle Desmares, de la Comédie Française. Assurément, ce n'est pas la Pèlerine dont Watteau a tracé la frête silhouette dans les "Figures de Mode"; cette figurine est si menue que l'on a peine à distinguer sa physionomie. Mais le grande portrait de Lepicié nous donne assez exactement le visage et les formes abondantes de la comédienne pour que notre hypothèse soit autorisée."
  42. ^ Adhémar, Hélène (1950). Watteau; sa vie, son oeuvre (in French). Includes "L’univers de Watteau", an introduction by René Huyghe. Paris: P. Tisné. p. 119. OCLC 853537. […] tandis que Mlle Desmares, coiffée d'un grand bonnet d'orientale, figure dans les Coquettes; elle aurait prête aussi ses traits à la figure centrale de L'Embarkment.
  43. ^ Nemilova 1964, pp. 86–87, 91, 181–182; Nemilova 1989, p. 148; Wise & Warner 1996, p. 172
  44. ^ Roland Michel, Marianne (1984). Watteau: un artiste au XVIII-e siècle (in French). Paris: Flammarion. pp. 156, 217. ISBN 0-86294-049-4. OCLC 417153549, cited in Wise & Warner 1996, p. 172.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  45. ^ German 1984, p. 99, cited in Belova 2006, pp. 58, 61 n. 9; Grasselli, Rosenberg & Parmantier 1984, pp. 305, 312, cited in Wise & Warner 1996, p. 172; Glorieux 2011, p. 168.
  46. ^ Eidelberg, Martin (January 2019). "Coquettes qui pour voir". A Watteau Abecedario. Archived from the original on January 31, 2021. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  47. ^ Belova 2006, p. 58; Huys 2011, p. 148 n. 103.
  48. ^ Levey, Michael (1966). Rococo to Revolution: Major Trends in Eighteenth-Century Painting. London: Thames and Hudson. pp. 76–77. OCLC 1036855531 – via the Internet Archive.
  49. ^ Kalnein, Wend Graf; Levey, Michael (1972). Art and Architecture of the Eighteenth Century in France. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 20, 360 n. 33. ISBN 0-14-056037-8. OCLC 1008263215.
  50. ^ Bryson, Norman (1981). Word and Image: French Painting of the Ancien Régime. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 6668. ISBN 0-521-27654-3. OCLC 1178656890 – via the Internet Archive.
  51. ^ Clarke, Michael, ed. (2000). A Companion Guide to the National Gallery of Scotland. Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland. p. 118. ISBN 978-1-903278-11-6. OCLC 1148620386 – via the Internet Archive.
  52. ^ Macmillan, Duncan (Autumn 1999). "The iconography of moral sense: Gavin Hamilton's sentimental heroines". The British Art Journal. 1 (1): 46–55. JSTOR 41615351.
  53. ^ Bailey, Colin B., ed. (2003). The Age of Watteau, Chardin, and Fragonard: Masterpieces of French Genre Painting. New Haven, London, Ottawa: Yale University Press, National Gallery of Canada. p. 138. ISBN 0-88884-767-X. OCLC 51330581.
  54. ^ Vetter, Andreas W. (2005). …von sanften Tönen bezaubert!: Antoine Watteau – "Venezianische Feste" (exhibition catalogue) (in German). Braunschweig: Herzog Anton-Ulrich Museum. p. 25 n. 2. ISBN 3-922279-61-9. Levey (1966, S. 72) hatte den nicht zu verifizierenden Vorschlag gemacht, die Dargestellte sei die Schauspielerin Charlotte Desmares.
  55. ^ Dux & Chevalley 1980, p. 235.
  56. ^ Hagen, Reiner; Hagen, Rose-Marie (2003) [2000]. What Great Paintings Say. 1. Köln, New York: Taschen. p. 282. ISBN 3-8228-2100-4 – via the Internet Archive.
  57. ^ Douin, Jean-Luc (November 27, 2007). ""Ce que mes yeux ont vu" : en quête de Watteau, ou l'art de savoir regarder des tableaux". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  58. ^ Besserglik, Bernard (December 9, 2007). "The Vanishing Point". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  59. ^ Scott 2010, pp. 284–285.
  60. ^ Percival 2017, p. 163.
  61. ^ Langlois 1993, p. 468.
  62. ^ a b Germann, Jennifer Grant (2016) [2015]. Picturing Marie Leszczinska (1703-1768): Representing Queenship in Eighteenth-Century France. New York, London: Routledge. pp. 184, 196 n. 101. ISBN 978-1-4094-5582-0. OCLC 1001961409.

Bibliography

External links

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