Autant, M - portrait of Art Nouveau lady

Miniature portraits from the late 19C and early 20C sometimes had an Art Nouveau theme, as with this exceptionally large miniature which has a sight size of 200mm x 130mm. The frame is carved and gilded. Being so large, it has suffered a vertical stress fracture but that does not detract from the unusual subject and the skill of the artist, particularly in depicting the drapery of her dress.

It is signed at the lower left "M Autant". Blattel says little about Autant, other than that he was a Belgian artist active in the 19C. To the left is a stylized forest and on the right a statue of a winged figure on a plinth, looking downwards at a group of romantic or Italianate buildings. It is quite unusual to find a Romanic or Art Nouveau type miniature of a generic nature, depicting a subject matter more often associated with larger paintings of the period.  

There was a M Autant, an architect, who was involved as a witness in the Emile Zola trial, itself connected to the famous Dreyfus trial, but it has not been confirmed that he is same person, although it is possible.

There is also a reference to M Autant in connection with;
SANOUILLET. Lyre & Pallette or Art & Life, which later became Art & Action. A dramatic company formed by Louise Lara, ex-secretary of the French Comedy & her husband Mr. Autant. Courses of dramatic art at the theatres of Paris were offered by the war office, as rallying points for artists dispersed by the hazards of war. These included presentations of the Mamelles de Tirésias (June 1917), Colors of time (Nov. 1918), The Cuirs de Boeuf (Dec. 1918), of Georges Polti to the Academy Rene Maubel, known as of the plays of the world (déc.1918), P. Méral To the Old Dovecote; and The Parade (May 1917), etc See Cat. Collection Art & Action. BLJD, 50.282.

But so far there is no certainty over the identity of this artist. Thus any assistance in identifying him further would be welcomed. 1348

1 comment:

Frank Zweegers said...

Insightful post. Thanks!