Alfred de Dreux

Deux amazones à cheval

Oil on canvas: 16.1(h) x 20(w) in /

41(h) x 50.8(w) cm

Signed lower left: Alfred De Dreux

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BK 286

 

ALFRED DE DREUX

1810 – Paris – 1860

 

Deux amazones à cheval

 

Signed lower left: Alfred De Dreux

Oil on canvas: 16 1/8 x 20 in / 41 x 50.8 cm

Frame size: 23 ½ x 27 in / 59.7 x 68.6 cm

 

Provenance:

George Plach, Vienna;

private collection, Europe

 

To be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the work of Alfred de Dreux being prepared by Brame & Lorenceau, Paris

 

 

Alfred de Dreux was famed for his equestrian portraits of dandies and amazones dressed in elegant riding habits, shown in effortless control of high-mettled, glossy steeds. Among his patrons was the duc d’Orléans and in 1844 his career was given further prestige when he visited England to paint an equestrian double portrait, The visit of His Majesty Louis-Philippe to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle.

 

De Dreux liked to paint pairs of female riders, often portraying a dark and blonde woman and horses of different colours, as here. He plays with echoing shapes – the arched necks of the two beautiful horses – and contrasting shapes – the rider leaning back and her forward-leaning companion, creating a sense of intimacy and movement. The terrace with its vast sweep of park, lake and gilt-fringed theatre of clouds adds to the air of grandeur, recalling the landscape of Versailles.

 

The haughty, daring and accomplished female rider, or amazone, fascinated artists throughout the nineteenth century. She was later portrayed by Edouard Manet in paintings such as L’amazone: portrait de Marie Lefebure, 1870-75 (Museu de Arte de São Paolo, Brazil) and L’amazone, c.1882 (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid). The amazone had real-life counterparts in the reckless, hard-riding Empress Elizabeth (‘Sisi’) of Austria, and the stylish adventuress ‘Skittles’, both famed for their exploits on the English hunting field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


ALFRED DE DREUX

1810 – Paris – 1860

 

Alfred de Dreux was born in France, the son of an architect. He first studied with Léon Cogniet and then entered the atelier of Eugène Isabey. Throughout his career, however, de Dreux’s work was greatly influenced by Théodore Géricault, who was a close friend of his uncle, the painter Dedreux-Dorcey. In 1831, de Dreux exhibited Interieur d’Ecurie at the Paris Salon, which won him immediate fame. In 1840 he began his celebrated series of portraits of horses from the famous stables of the duc d’Orléans.

 

Following the Revolution in 1848, the French royal family emigrated to England where de Dreux frequently visited them, painting many equestrian portraits of the exiled Emperor Napoleon III and his sons. He returned to France and was commissioned to paint a portrait of Napoleon III in 1859 (Musee de l’Armée, Paris). A dispute arose over this equestrian portrait and in March 1860 de Dreux was killed in a duel by Comte Fleury, Napoleon’s principal aide-de-camp.

 

The work of Alfred de Dreux is represented in the Louvre, Paris; the Musée Camondo, Paris and museums in Bordeaux, Dijon and Chantilly.

 

SportingAlfred de Dreux