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Georges Rouget (1783-1869)-attrib. "Vicomte de Rigny", Important Napoleonic Oil Painting!!, 1810s
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"Portrait of 21-years-old Alexandre Gaultier Vicomte de Rigny as "chef d'escadron" (squadron commander) and aide-de-camp of Marshall Suchet after the battle of Tarragona in Spain (28 June 1811)."
Alexandre Gaultier de Rigny, son of a former cavalryman was born in 1790. At first he studied in Brussels and then at the Military School in Fontainebleau. On January 16th 1807 he was promoted sous-lieutenant. On June 10th 1807 during an offensive against a Russian redoubt he was wounded for the first time. 1807-1809 he takes part in the campaigns in Prussia, Austria and Poland. Everywhere he receives honourous mentions. He also paticipates in the famous Battle of Ersberg. Nearby Essling his regiment fights against the Austrians, much superior in number. De Rigny is wounded but stays on the battlefield. The next day he is again wounded. For his merits he is promoted lieutenant at the age of 19 years old. In Wagram by Vienna he substitutes his company commander - who has fallen during the battle - and receives praise for his courage. Only five hours later he is wounded on the shoulder and has to be transported to Vienna. Once in Vienna he is chosen by the new commander of the Aragon Army General (future Marshal) Suchet to be his aide-de-camp in Spain. For the victories in Margaleff and Lerida he receives captain epaulettes. He takes part in the battle of Mequinenza , Tortose, Tarragona, Sagonte and Valencia. He distinguished himself specially in Tarragona where he was praised by Suchet personally, who promoted him squadron commander (sic!). In 1813 he is counsellor accompanying Napoleon in Saxony. And later staff officer of Marshall Berthier. During the horrible retreat from Leipzig he is wounded in the head and taken prisioner by the enemy. He stays enprisioned until 1814, when he came back home being promoted 1st lieutenant. He stayed in the Reserve until 1815. In 1818 he was promoted colonel and in 1821, commander of the second Hussar Regiment. In 1823 he paricipates in Spanish campaign and is praised for his courage and humanity.
In 1830 he takes part of the French Invansion of Belgium and attains the rank of Marechal de camp (lowest rank of a general) on October 22nd 1830. Later he becomes military commandant of the North Province.
In 1836 he receives order of taking part in the Recapture of Algeria. This doesn't please the commander-in-chief in Algeria Marshall Clausel it all, and from this point on De Rigny is victim of repeated intrigues. He fights heroically in all battles together with his brigade (specially in Constantine), coming back home only in 1837.
On July 9th 1850 the President of the Republic designates him Commander of the Military District Brest. He dies at the age of 83 years old in Fougeres, Normandie.
This painting matches all stylistic criteria of the works of the well known French artist of the Napoleonic Epoche, pupil and assistant of David, George Rouget (1783 Paris - 1869 ibidem). He was a renowned portrait, battle and historical painter, painted on state comission many episodes from the history of the French Kings for Versailles and exhibited regularly at the Parisian Salon. Works of his can be seen in the greatest French museums (Louvre, Versailles, etc).
We are grateful to well-known uniformologist and specialist in Napoleonic Epoch, Dr. Dimitri Gorchkoff (Moscow) for very useful information concerning this painting. He had obtained from us exclusive right to publish this portrait with own commentars.
19th April 2011:
P.S. We just received from Dr.Gorshkoff his article about this painting which will appear in June 2011 issue of Moscow art magazin "Sobranie" ("Collection"; see our images nr.11-15)
Provenance: French noble estate (a few generations long as work of Georges Rouget); Christie's London, 2 December 1998, Lot 306 (see our image # 9).
Condition: good, in original frame
Creation Year: 1810s
Measurements:UNFRAMED:90,0x72,0cm/35,4x28,3in FRAMED: 109,0x90,0cm/42,9x35,4in
Object Type:Framed oil painting
Style: Old Master Paintings
Technique: oil on canvas
Inscription:entitled on the small shield on frame: Le General Vicomte de Rigny
Creator: Georges Rouget
Creator Dates: 1783-1869
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