Salomon Guillaume Counis (Swiss, 1785-1859) Miniature Portrait

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Our impressive reverse painting on glass of a young gentleman is attributed to Salomon Guillaume Counis (Swiss, 1785-1859).  It measures 5 1/8 inches tall and 4 1/4 inches across, and is mounted in its original silver frame.  Signed "Counis" above the shoulder on the right side.  A female portrait of Flora by Counis, in identical frame, can be found in the Kunstsammlung Stadt Biel Ville de Bienne, the city museum of the Swiss town of Stadt Biel, Ville de Bienne.

The artist was born in Kölleda in Thuringia, near Sömmerda.  The son of an engraver, he studied with Wolfgang Adam Toepffer and in Paris with Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy in 1808.  He was the painter of Élisa Bonaparte, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and sister of Napoleon who took him in 1810 to Florence where he has awardedthe title of "court enamel painter".  During the Restoration he moved to Geneva, and returned to Paris in 1815. He eventually settled permanently in Florence in 1830.

In Paris, he exhibited at the Salon from 1810 to 1817, achieving a gold medal in 1817 for his portrait of Count de Forbin.

He authored a treatise on enamels entitled "Some memories followed by a dissertation on enamel on porcelain and a small treatise for the use of the painter in enamel" (Éditeur Galileienne, 1842).

Three recent auction sales of Counis miniatures include:  lot 186 of Sotheby's sale in London on May 7, 2020, that closed at 15,000 GBP; lot 358 of Sotheby's sale in London on December 5, 2019, that closed at 8,125 GBP; and lot 151 of Sotheby's sale in London January 17, 2019, that closed at 9,375 GBP.

Subjects he painted included:  

• Portraits of Marie-Anne Elisa Bonaparte and her daughter Napoléone Elisa Bacciochi in the collection of the Louvre.

• La Galatée enamel after Girodet.

• Enamel portraits of members of Napoleon's family painted in Florence in 1810 and following years, in Ajaccio, Musée de la Maison Bonaparte, Corsica, including among others, Jérôme, King of Westphalia.

• Portrait of Count de Forbin, exhibited at the Salon of 1817 which won the gold medal.

• Jean-Antioche Junot (1771-1813), General under Napoleon in Musée de la Légion d'Honneur.

• A young peasant woman in prayer, exhibited at the Salon of 1817.

• Portrait La belle Grecque, Marie Pauline Bonaparte, Princess Borghese, painted in 1810 in the Uffizi, Florence.

• Portrait of Madame de Staël after Baron Gérard, exhibited at the Salon of 1822.

• Portrait of Louis XVIII after Paulin Guéri the prince deigned to congratulate the author on his talent on the occasion of this portrait

• Four portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Berry, during the birth of the Duke of Bordeaux

• Three portraits of the Duchess of Berry in her widow's costume, executed according to the princess's intentions

• 18 enamels after Correggio, Andrea del Sarto, Rubens, Raphaël, Titian, in Museo Civico d'Arte Antica and Palazzo Madama, Turin.

Item Details

Reference #:
Antiques (approx100yrs)
19th C
(Width x Height X Depth)
x x
glass, metal