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Le Baiser Quémandé / The Begged-for Kiss



Attributed to Jean-Frédéric Schall (1752-1825)
Le Baiser Quémandé / The Begged-for Kiss
oil on canvas
AGLC 369 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

These pictures evidently do not form a pair of pendants, but they seem fairly clearly to be by the same hand, and – though at various times the attribution of each to Jean-Frédéric Schall has been doubted – no better attribution than to him suggests itself. One distinctive thing about Schall, that distinguishes him from other depicters of such galant scenes to whom they might otherwise be attributed, such as Pierre-Antoine Baudouin (1723-1769) or Nicolas Lavreince (Lafrensen; 1737- 1807), is that his focus always appears to have been concentrated more upon the human actors in his compositions, than on the domestic settings of their encounters. This is not invariably the case, but The Gentleman Having his Head Attended to, Whilst his Wife’s Lover Kisses her in the Bed behind him, signed and dated 178(?), is a good case in point. Stylistically, there is also considerable compatibility between these two paintings and that, but also between them and Le Lever and Le Coucher of c. 1785-1790 in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Intriguingly, Schall went on painting and exhibiting such subjects right up into the worst years of the French Revolution. In 1793 he exhibited a since-lost painting titled Le Nid d’Amour, which drew down upon him and on the work this censorious comment: ‘It is a pity that […] this artist has profaned his gifts, and that he has forgotten that the Arts, instead of inspiring vice, are intended to propagate virtue and morality.

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