Portrait of Madame Freret Dericour (1769)
Oil on canvas
Duplessis was a portrait painter of solid accomplishment during the reigns of Louis XV (1715-1774) and XVI (1774-1793). In the Nelson-Atkins portrait, Rococo elegance is beginning to be modified by the more disciplined taste of Neoclassicism. The artist combines a sound sense of form and texture-particularly effective in the smooth, silky coat of the dog-with a straightforward interpretation of character. Here, an unadorned, simple background allows our attention to focus on the sitter, whose pose and gaze are relaxed but self-assured, and whose inclusion of a favorite pet indicates a capacity for kindness and affection.