Friday, September 10, 2010


Portrait of Joseph Aved
Oil on canvas, 1734

If his father hadn't died when he was a child, Jacques-André-Joseph Aved (Douai 1702-1766 Paris) might never have seen Dutch art. After his mother remarried a captain in the Dutch guards, the family left France for Amsterdam. Aved's exposure to Dutch art led to his development of the "psychological portrait." This innovation signaled a shift away from the mythologizing style of contemporaries like Nicolas de Largillière.
At 16 Jacques-Andre-Joseph Aved is said to have become a pedlar or 'camelot', the nickname given to him by his French acquaintances, traveling through the Netherlands and drawing portraits at fairs.
In 1721, after spending short periods in the Amsterdam studios of the French engraver Bernard Picart and of the draughtsman François Boitard, he went to work in the Paris studio of the fashionable portrait painter Alexis-Simon Belle. At this time he met other notable painters including Carle Vanloo and the portrait painters Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, Jean-Baptiste Perroneau, Jean-Etienne Liotard and lasting friend Jean-Siméon Chardin, with whom he may have collaborated on occasion. They used similar techniques, and he may have encouraged Chardin to turn from still-life painting to figure painting in the 1730s.
(Gallery of Art at

Porträt des schwedischen Botschafters C. G. Tessin (1695-1770)
Current Location Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden

Jacques-André-Joseph Aved was accepted (agréé) at the Académie in 1731, and received three years later on presenting portraits (now at Versailles) of Jean-François De Troy and Cazes, the master of Chardin. It is customary to link Aved and Chardin, rightly, because the two men were friendly. Chardin painted Aved's portrait, and Aved owned some of his still-lifes. Yet Aved seems to have been friendly also with Boucher and Carle van Loo, at least in these early years. His patrons proved quite often to be royal or at least noble; ambassadors like Count Tessin (above) sat to him, and Louis XV commissioned a portrait which, however, caused Aved trouble and which took long to complete. It may well be that court portraiture as such did not suit him, but he travelled to The Hague in 1750 to paint the Stadhouder William (Amsterdam) - with rather conventional results.
(Gallery of Art at

Madame Crozat
Oil on canvas, 1741
Musée Fabre, Montpellier
From Web Gallery of Art at

The remarkable portrait of Madame Crozat was shown at the Salon in 1741. In this portrait Aved conveys something of the sitter's character - including a lack of vanity - and her ordinary existence. With her tapestry work and a teapot handy in the background, she might stand as representative of the highest bourgeoisie: sensible, comfortable, industrious. It was thought worth commenting on in 1741 that another woman would have suppressed the fact of those spectacles which Madame Crozat has just taken off and still holds; Aved seizes on this very detail to give a sense of momentary pause in a pleasantly busy domestic life.
(Gallery of Art at
The remarkable rendering of the brocade and lace of her gown produces an effect that is both highly mimetic and spectacular. In this way, Aved’s painting went to the heart of contemporary debates concerning the moral propriety of illusionism, of producing illusionistic effects that confused distinctions between the real and the fictitious, and of looking and truth. To the most enlightened critics of the day illusionism, such as that produced by Aved, was acceptable as long as it was in the name of moral edification rather than distraction. The image of Madame Crozat, the widow of one of France’s richest bankers, is certainly edifying. In spite of her wealth, she is caught working on her tapestry – humble, sober and industrious.

Portrait de Marc of Villiers (1671-1762)
Secrétaire du Roi

Mehmed Said Efendi in Paris, 1742
Source East encounters West by Fatma Müge Göçek

Portrait of M. the Marquis of Mirabeau in his Cabinet
Oil on canvas
Exhibited at the 1743 Salon
Photo Réunion des Musées Nationaux
From culture.gouv

The following description appeared in the Salon handbook: "Portrait of M. the Marquis of Mirabeau in his Cabinet (above), leaning on M. Follard's Polybe ." Victor Riqueti, Marquis of Mirabeau (1715-1789), nicknamed "the friend of mankind", after the title of one of his books, was an economist. In 1760, he published his Theory of Taxation for which he was imprisoned at Vincennes. Father of the politician, he declared himself as much an enemy of despotism and superstition as the Philosophers. At the time of this portrait, the sitter had not yet abandoned his military career. Jean-Claude de Follard (1669-1752), author of the book Polybe on which the model is leaning, was a man of war and a reputed tactician.

Portrait of Madame Brion
Seated, Taking Tea
Oil on canvas, 1750
In 1744 Jacques-Andre Joseph Aved painted a portrait of Louis XV which earned him the title peintre du roi, the king's painter. By 1750, he was well established in the circle of French artists that included Chardin and Boucher. In that year he presented his portrait of Madame Brion to the Salon. Curious aspect of this painting is the title Aved gave it. We see Madame Brion seated at her provincial-style writing table, pausing from her correspondence or sewing, to take some refreshment. But she is drinking coffee, not tea. The silver vessel on the table is not the typical, short, squat, bullet- or pear-shaped teapot with handle placed low on the body, but a flat-bottomed style of French coffeepot known as a marabout. The swirling fluted decoration and short pouring lip, suitable to the thick Turkish coffee favored by the French, are typical features of the marabout. This portrait has been published in a history of chocolate, but chocolate pots of this time were generally mounted on three feet and had handles placed perpendicular to the spout.
Further evidence that Madame Brion is drinking coffee, not chocolate or tea, is seen in the size and shape of her drinking bowl. Tea, never the favored drink of the French, was served in very small teabowls. Chocolate cups, with or without handles, were both taller and narrower than coffee cups or teacups. They were sometimes double-handled, or placed in silver or silver-gilt frames. Madame Brion's bowl is of the size and shape that is still offered during early morning hours in Paris cafes, filled with steaming cafe au lait.
As a Parisian, Aved became a successful and independent artist, a member of the Académie de Peinture, and one of the foremost connoisseurs of his day. He owned a large, important collection that included paintings by or attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn, Gerrit Dou, Nicolaes Berchem, Anthony van Dyck, Domenichino, Tintoretto, Guercino, Claude Lorrain, Nicolas Poussin, and others, along with an extensive collection of Rembrandt etchings.

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