M. Bachelier, Director of Customs at Lyon (M. Bachelier, Directeur des fermes de Lyon)

Accession Number

M. Bachelier, Director of Customs at Lyon (M. Bachelier, Directeur des fermes de Lyon)

Jean-Baptiste Oudry

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

54 7/16 in x 41 11/16 in (138.27 cm x 105.89 cm);61 ½ in x 49 in (156.21 cm x 124.46 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
March 28, 2009
The son of a painter, Oudry studied with Nicolas de Largillière, an artist known for his portraits (including a famous one of Louis XIV). This portrait of Pierre Bachelier, a mid-level functionary who directed the collection of taxes in the city of Lyon, recalls the official likenesses of nobility and the haute bourgeoisie of his teacher. In this portrait d’apparat—a portrait that shows the sitter surrounded by the accoutrements of his profession—Bachelier is shown in sumptuous attire and large powdered wig, at work at his desk. The gesture of his outstretched hand is one of self-presentation. Prior to 1718, Oudry had established a reputation as a portrait painter, although not many of his portraits have survived. He later became known as a still-life painter, and particularly for paintings of animals.
This painting was conserved in early 2008, including removal of discolored varnishes that had covered the canvas and clouded the artist’s original intentions. Oudry’s delicacy in applying and working his pigments is now revealed, especially in the fine handling of the hands and face, as is the rich gold of the sitter’s brocaded vest, highlights of the furniture, still life glimpsed on his desk.

Subject matter
Pierre Bachelier directed the collection of taxes in the city of Lyon, France. Oudry's portrait recalls the official "portrait d'apparat" of his teacher, Nicolas de Largillière, that surrounds the sitter with emblems of his rank and profession.

Physical Description
M. Bachelier is shown seated at a desk dressed in a high powdered wig and sumptous gold-embroidered velvet coat and waistcoat. Behind the figure is a rich cloth, pulled back to reveal columns. On the elaborately carved desk are papers and a writing set. M. Bachelier extends his left hand towards the viewer, suggesting that we have interepted him while writing at his des. The painting's coloring consists of rich burgundy red, green, tan and gold.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

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