School of Pierre Mignard (French, 1612-1695)
Mademoiselle de la Fontaine as Demeter (Ceres)
Oil on canvas, 30 1/2 x 24 5/8 in. (77.5 x 62.5 cm), framed.
Condition: Lined, patch reinforcement, retouch, craquelure, surface grime.
Provenance: Ex-collection George Chaffee , New York.
Literature: Dance Magazine, October, 1962, "Treasures of Dance Art from the collection of George Chaffee" illus. p. 31.
N.B. George Chaffee (American, d. 1984) was a ballet dancer, teacher, and a prominent collector of ballet materials. After dancing with the ballet companies of Michel Fokine and Mikhail Mordkin, Mr. Chaffee became a leading star of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in the late 1930s. He amassed an important collection of art relating to the history of dance over five centuries, including drawings, paintings, and sculpture.
In 1948, Mr. Chaffee organized A Retrospective Exhibit of the French Court and Opera Ballet (1581 to 1948), shown at the French Embassy in New York in connection with the first visit to the United States of the Paris Opera Ballet. Almost all of the 100 items were from his collection, and represented only a fraction of his holdings. (1)
The subject of this portrait, Mlle de la Fontaine, was the first female soloist at the Paris Opera Ballet.
1. http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/20/obituaries/george-chaffee-77-dancer-ballet-teacher-and-collector.html (accessed 8/4/2015)
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