Portrait of the Actor Grandval

Nicolas Lancret (French, 1690-1743)

Currently on View in H213
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Lancret's interest in the stage, evident in his insightful portraits of actors and dancers, may derive from his early training in the studio of Claude Gillot, director of scene designs and costumes for the Paris Opera. In this portrait of the actor Grandval, one of the best known performers of 18th-century Paris, Lancret alludes to his renowned ability to perform both tragic and comic roles. Grandval stands in an imaginary garden in front of a statuary group that represents Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, and Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy.

Monsieur X., by 1885 and until at least 1924;{1} (Wildenstein, Paris, France, and New York, New York) by 1954;{2} Mr. and Mrs. Herman C. Krannert [1887-1972], Indianapolis, Indiana, by 1960;{3} Given to the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1960.

{1} M. X. is identified as the owner in both Exposition de Tableaux, Statues et Objets d’art au profit de l’oeuvre des Orphelins d’Alsace-Lorraine, Louvre, 1885, cat. no. 295 and in Georges Wildenstein, Lancret: Biographie et catalogue critiques, 1924, cat. no. 592 (ill.) The early provenance given by Wildenstein may confuse the larger version of the same subject, shown at the Paris Salon in 1742 and now lost, with this smaller one.
{2} Wildenstein, New York, French Eighteenth Century Painters, 16 November – 11 December 1954, cat. no. 15.
{3} See IMA Temporary Receipt No. 6839, dated 4 October 1960.

Object Information

Nicolas Lancret (French, 1690-1743)
creation date
about 1742
oil on canvas
27 x 33-1/2 in. (canvas)
40 x 45 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herman C. Krannert
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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