Portrait of Napoleon’s sister sells in New York

Portrait of Pauline Bonaparte, sold for $310,000 (£238,700) at Doyle in New York.

This large and imposing portrait of Pauline Bonaparte, the younger sister of Napoleon, sold for$310,000 (£238,700) in New York last week.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Roland Arkell

Portrait of Pauline Bonaparte, sold for $310,000 (£238,700) at Doyle in New York.

The6ft 5in x 4ft 6in (1.9 x 1.4m) oilshows the sitter, who was later known as Pauline Borghese (1780-1825), at the age of 19.

She was already married tothe French general Charles Leclerc and had a son.

Itis signed M Vic Lemoine on the pilaster lower right, for Marie-Victoire Lemoine (1754-1820) who specialised in portraits and genre subjects.

This workwas exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1799 under the anonymous title Une jeune femme appuyée sur le bord d’une croisée (a young woman leaning on the edge of a window).

Family gift

The portrait is thought to have been given by the sitter to her brother Joseph Bonaparte, Comte de Survilliersand came with him to the US when he moved toBordentown, New Jersey.

Laterit passedin the family of Peter Gassner to his great-granddaughter, Mrs Theodore Humphrey, and then to a private collection in Washington, DC.

The estimate in Doyle’s auction on February 5 was $40,000-70,000.

In 1801 Pauline accompanied her husband on a military expedition to Haiti, where he died of yellow fever a year later.

In 1803 she married the Roman prince Camillo Borghese, and thereafter lived as an Italian noblewoman in the Villa Paolina in Rome.