Vallee - Portrait of a Young Man

After the French Revolution and during the Napoleonic Wars, a number of miniature painters left France for America.

Among them was Jean Francois de la Vallee (aka P R Vallee) who was active in the United States from around 1785-1828. He is reported to have worked in Philadelphia, Charleston, New Orleans, and Boston.

It has been recorded that he had a scheme to build a cotton mill in Virginia, and when it failed he resorted to miniature portraits, such as this one of a young man.

While technically competent in the detail, his work lacks the spark and quality of his French compatriots of the time.

His work is not common, thus although this miniature has a vertical stress fracture on the right, it is a good example of his work, with a clear signature.

From the clothing and neck-wear, the portrait dates from around 1815-1820 and was probably painted when he was in Boston.

As was fashionable at the time, the sitter wears a stickpin, as a forerunner to the tie pin which was worn by men for many years.

Although not shown, the frame is a typical French ebonised frame of the period. 1372

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