Alfred de Dreux
(1810 Paris 1860)
Le Comte Klein
Oil on canvas
Signed lower right : Alfred De Dreux
Provenance : Collection de Pontalba ; Collection particulière, France
EXPOSITION : Exposition Universelle de 1855, Palais des Beaux-Arts de Paris, n°2901
BIBLIOGRAPHIE : Alfred de Dreux : Le cheval, passion d’un dandy parisien, Fondation Mona Bismarck, Paris, 25 janvier – 22 mars 1997, reproduit p.29 ; Alfred de Dreux, Marie-Christine Renaud, Actes Sud, 2008, p. 46, N°190
This work belongs to a series of paintings à cheval done by the artist in the 1850’s. Indeed, during this period in a Paris excited by anglophilia, the skills and the spirit of the equestrian, carriages and cavalry pervaded the broad avenues around the Champs- Elysées. De Dreux’s masterpiece, Mosselman Barouche on the Champs-Elysées, which is to be found today in the Petit Palais in Paris, is to be set into this context.
This painting, which was done in the 1850’s belongs to a series of works in the same format with similar compositions. Thus, Count Montgomery (Paris, musée du Louvre ) and Count Aguado were painted circa 1853 and show the noblemen in vast romantic landscapes, in which their possessions are opulently displayed.
It was in this period that De Dreux had his most brilliant success, when during the year 1853 he received the Légion d’Honneur.
This painting, along with Colonel Fleury Leading the Imperial Guard (France, private collection), was one of the two works chosen by De Dreux to show at the World Exhibition of 1855.
The sitter, Eugène-Joseph-Napoléon Klein, Count Klein-d’Arberg (1813 –1875), one of the most fashionable figures of the Second Empire, is mounted on a magnificent dark steed. The noble posture of the horse reflects the proud attitude of its master, and stands still before a forest landscape, in which a Château can be seen in the distance. The vibrant and brilliant touch and the assured compositional arrangement demonstrate the ease with which the artist was able to treat the most ambitious portraits.
127 x 104 cm (50 x 40 7/8 in)