By descent in the family of the artist until 1999;
Arnauné-Prim, Toulouse, 22 June 1999, lot 285;
Private Collection, Paris, until 2021.
A major figure in his day, and in many ways heir to Jean-Léon Gérôme, Jules Lecomte du Noüy is perhaps best known for his Orientalist scenes. Early in his career, Lecomte du Noüy enjoyed triumphs at the Paris Salon, winning gold medals on 1866 and 1869, a second-class medal in 1872, and the Legion of Honour in 1876, to name only the most significant French governmental distinctions. A veteran of the Salon, he exhibited there almost every year between 1863 and 1923.
Training first with Charles Gleyre, and then for several years with Gérôme, who held the young artist in very high regards, Lecomte du Noüy ‘consciously rejected the path of modernism, choosing instead to express himself through an elaborately finished technique applied to compositions that often featured stylised, even slightly mannerist, human figures.’ As the artist himself said, ‘Gérôme est mon maître et Raphaël mon Dieu.’ He has also been considered to some extent a successor to Jean-Auguste-Dominque Ingres, favouring meticulous painterly craftsmanship over the more freely handled and expressive brushwork originally championed by Delacroix and ultimately developed in various ways by the anti-academics and modernists to whom he was opposed. Indeed, Lecomte du Noüy has been described as ‘Ingres faisant du Gérôme’,although the finished works were distinctly his own.
His earlier paintings were primarily of subjects derived from antiquity, though under the influence of Gérôme and thanks to his own extensive travels in North Africa and the Near East, Lecomte du Noüy increasingly focussed on Orientalist themes. The present work is a fine example of the artist’s preparatory oil sketches and is likely a study for the Saint Vincent de Paul, a rare religious work from 1876 (fig. 1).
Fig. 1, Jules Lecomte du Noüy, Saint Vincent de Paul, 1876, oil on canvas, Saint Trinité, Paris
 R.Diedern, From Homer to the Harem: The Art of Jules Lecomte du Noüy, New York 2004, p. 9.
 Paris, Archives du Louvre, Document of 24 March 1926, no. 3830.
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