Portrait of Catherine de’ Medici (1519-1589), Queen of France. THE ENTOURAGE OF JEAN DECOURT (Follower of Clouet, ca. 1530-1585)

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THE ENTOURAGE OF JEAN DECOURT (Follower of Clouet, ca. 1530-1585)
Portrait of Catherine de’ Medici (1519-1589), Queen of France
Oil on panel
Ca. 1575
13 5/8 x 10 3/8 in. panel, 18 x 14 1/2 in. framed.


Provenance: Tudor Wilkinson Collection; its sale, Hotel Drouot,
Ader Picard, Paris, July 3-4, 1969, lot 41 (as French School).
Acquired by the family of the current owners; Christie’s, March 22, 2017: €20,800.
Exhibited: Paris, Galerie Charpentier, French Portraits , 1945, no. 17. Paris, Galerie Charpentier, One hundred portraits of women: from the 15th century to the present day, 1950, no. 19 (like Francois Clouet).


$125,000.

Jean Decourt was a French portraitist and follower of Francois Clouet (c. 1510-1572) working for several European nobility. He was painter to Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon in 1553, became painter in 1562 to Mary Stuart, the consort of King François II. In 1572 Court succeeded François Clouet as Peintre du Roi to Charles IX.


There is only one known signed portrait by Jean Decourt. British Gallery Philip Mould & Company holds a miniature of Henri III, which is signed Decourt on the verso. This discovery was made recently and provided an excellent point for comparison with this portrait of Catherine de’ Medici. Mould wrote of hallmarks of Decourt’s style, “particular attention paid to the clothing, the jewels treated in volume with their cast shadows, the incredibly lifelike, modelling of the face (which is slightly pale) and in the artist’s habit of placing the reflection of light in the pupil of the eye, rather than the iris as Clouet did.” The trademark pale skin, attention to jewelry, and placement of the reflection of light in the pupil of the eye support the attribution to Decourt.


We would like to thank Madame Alexandra Zvereva, who examined this work. She attributes this work to the entourage of Jean Decourt and dates the piece to around 1570/80 after a visual examination.

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