Baron François Gérard, French, 1770-1837
Title: Julie Bonaparte as Queen of Spain with her Daughters, Zénaïde and Charlotte
Date: 1808-1809
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
199 x 142 cm
Signed: lower right: F. Gerard
Credit Line: Purchased, 1972 (Shaw Fund)
Object Number: NGI.4055
DescriptionGérard was one of the principal portraitists to the imperial court of Napoleon I. This is one of five portraits that he painted, at the height of his career, for Napoleon’s Salon de Famille at the Palais de Saint-Cloud. Gérard has depicted the elegant furnishings, costumes and accessories with great attention to detail. The fabrics of the muslin, voile and satin gowns, with their varied textures and tones, enliven the shadowy interior space.
Marie-Julie Clary was the elder daughter of a wealthy Marseilles family, reputedly of Irish descent. Her sister Desirée was a renowned beauty who became engaged to Napoleon Bonaparte at the age of 15. Although that engagement was eventually broken off, Marie-Julie married Napoleon’s brother Joseph in 1794. Her large dowry saved the Bonapartes from penury and allowed Joseph the means to pursue his political career. Their daughter Zénaïde was born in 1801 and Charlotte the following year. In 1806, Joseph became King of Naples and in 1808 King of Spain, a title he held in name until 1814. Zénaïde inherited this portrait, and it remained in her family until 1972.

March 2016


ProvenanceJoseph Bonaparte, King of Naples and Spain; Zenaide, Princes of Canino; Cardinal Lucien Bonaparte; Marchesa Julie di Roccagiovine and her descendants; Heim Gallery, London; purchased, Heim Gallery, London, 1972
Exhibition History(?)Salon, Paris, 1808

Paintings and Sculptures 1770-1830, Heim Gallery, London, 1972

Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Ireland, National Gallery, London, 1985

Master European Paintings from the National Gallery of Ireland, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 6 June - 9 August 1992; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, 19 September - 6 December 1992; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 13 January - 28 March 1993; IBM Gallery, New York, 27 April - 26 June 1993
Label TextGérard was one of the principal portrait painters to the imperial court of Napoleon I. This is one of five portraits he painted for Napoleon’s Salon de Famille at the palace of Saint-Cloud, just outside Paris. Born into a wealthy Marseilles family, reputedly of Irish descent, Marie-Julie Clary married Joseph, Napoleon’s brother, in 1794. Her large dowry gave Joseph the means to pursue a political career. Their daughter Zénaïde was born in 1801 and Charlotte in 1802. Inherited by Zénaïde, this painting remained in the family until purchased by the Gallery in 1972.