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Jeanne Élisabeth Chaudet (1767-1832)
Petite Fille mangeant des cerises

1817
toile (peinture à l’huile) 78 × 62 cm
Signé, en bas à gauche : Elisabeth Chaudet, femme Husson.
inv. 377
Legs Paul Marmottan (1932)
Although remarried to Denis Husson in 1812, the painter Jeanne Élisabeth Gabiou continued her career under the name of her first husband, the sculptor Antoine Denis Chaudet. Her early envois (submissions) to the Salon, beginning in 1796, were mainly portraits of women, but after 1799 she produced numerous paintings on childhood themes. The first was A Young Girl Trying to Teach a Dog to Read (Salon of 1799, private collection), in which the figures wear long, loose white clothes evoking the innocence of early childhood. Precisely drawn in soft colors, these graceful, centered compositions were highly popular and the Empress Joséphine herself acquired her A Young Girl Feeding the Chickens after the Salon of 1802 (Arenenberg, Napoleonmuseum). Exhibited at the Salon of 1817, the Young Girl Eating Cherries is characteristic of Chaudet’s style. Occupying the full height of the canvas, the fair-haired, blue-eyed child kneeling in the foreground faces the viewer in front of a soft-toned landscape of Italian inspiration. The red of the artfully placed cherries adds a touch of vivacity.