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"Portrait of General Klein" Topic

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Cuirassier Inactive Member01 Apr 2018 2:01 p.m. PST

Does anyone know when this portrait of this French cavalry general was painted?

Click on the image to enlarge it: link


Read about Klein's career here: link

Cuirassier Inactive Member01 Apr 2018 2:07 p.m. PST

And here: link

Prince of Essling01 Apr 2018 2:46 p.m. PST

See PDF link which says below the portrait "D'apres un Portrait appurtenant a Madame Octave Elie, nee Phulpin, son arriere petie fille".

Cuirassier Inactive Member01 Apr 2018 3:56 p.m. PST

That portrait can be seen at Versailles.

See here: link

"Historique: Déposé au Musée de l'Armée le 5 avril 1907. Revenu à Versailles le 19 février 1969."

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member01 Apr 2018 4:49 p.m. PST

I take it that this is not the same chap?


Not sure if that appears on everyone's screen – it's here:-


Cuirassier Inactive Member01 Apr 2018 6:57 p.m. PST

Different chaps, Supercilius. Don't forget to follow the links I have provided. General de Division Dominique-Louis-Antoine Klein, the one in the portrait in the initial post, served as general officer during the Napoleonic Era. Klein commanded the French 1st Division of Dragoons between 1805 and 1807. His cavalry division took part in the massive French cavalry charge at the Battle of Eylau.

N0tt0N01 Apr 2018 7:00 p.m. PST

Really? General D. Klein? I don't think this will turn out well for France…

Cuirassier Inactive Member01 Apr 2018 7:53 p.m. PST

Klein had an illustrious military career during the Revolutionary Wars and first campaigns of the Grande Armée.

Klein chose to quit the military life, becoming a senator in August of 1807. The next year he received the honors of being made a Count of the French Empire and governor of the imperial palace. During the trial of Marshal Ney, General Klein voted for Ney to be deported.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member02 Apr 2018 1:55 a.m. PST

Cuirassier – Sorry, it was getting late.

Cuirassier Inactive Member02 Apr 2018 9:08 a.m. PST

No problem, Supercilius. Don't worry. You were trying to help and I appreciate it. Thank you.

Prince of Essling02 Apr 2018 1:32 p.m. PST

Certainly in Versailles 1859-61 – see catalogue entry at link

Le Breton Inactive Member03 Apr 2018 12:08 p.m. PST

Dear Cuirassier,

You pose a very intersting question!

The painter of the portrait, Atala Varcollier (1803-1885) was the daughter of Constantin Stamaty, a Greek from Constantinople, a former French espionage agent who became the vice-consul of France at Civitevecchia in Italy. She was also the goddaughter of Chateaubriand and was named after the heroine in his novel "Atala". While in Italy in 1819, she married Michel-Augustin Varcollier (1795-1882), chef de la division des beaux-arts à la préfecture de la Seine, and the couple became close friends of Ingres. Atala is recorded as his most talented pupil in Rome and is known to have copied many of his works. They returned to Paris in 1820. Atala seems to have ceased painting after the death of their son Oscar (1820-1846).

The artist (seated at the piano) as sketched with her family by Ingres in 1818:


The artist in 1855, again by Ingres:

During the active years of Madame Varcollier's painting in Paris, the général comte Klein also lived ithere, at 87 r. de Bourbon / r. de Lille – about 600m from the Varcollier's hôtel at 8 r. Monthabor, on the other side of the Seine and through the Jardin des Tuileries.

Of the decoratons shown in the painting, the last awarded to the général comte Klein appears to be that of grand croix de la Légion d'honneur (29 April 1834). On the bar of decorations are miniatures of the Ordre de Saint Louis, the Légion d'honneur, and the Ordre du Lion de Bavière (Orden vom Pfälzer Löwen). The wearing of such miniatures was not uncommon during the era of the July Monarchy (1830-1848).

So, we might think that we could date the painting rather firmly to the years 1834-1844. But …. the général comte Klein was 71 years old in 1834, and looks much yonger in the painting.

Another depiction of the général comte Klein is an engraving published in 1823 by André-Ambroise Tardieu (1788-1841) – note again the youthful appearance of the subject, who was about 60 years of age.


It is possible that the portrait by Madame Varcollier was also done about 1821, then showing the blue and white sash of the Bavarian order. It could then have formed the baisis for the Tardieu engraving. Later, sometime after 1834, the portrait would have been overpainted with the red sash of a grand croix of the Légion d'honeur.

There is another oddity ….
The engraving by Tardieu gives a good rendition of the plaque or star of the Orden vom Pfälzer Löwen. But in the work by Madame Varcollier, the plaque or star placed lower on the left chest does not correspond well that of the Orden vom Pfälzer Löwen. The device in the painting looks a bit more like the star of a grand croix de l'Ordre de Saint-Louis, a dignity which (to my knowledge) was not accorded to the général comte Klein.

Cuirassier Inactive Member04 Apr 2018 3:38 p.m. PST

Thanks for the inputs, Prince of Essling and Le Breton.

Le Breton… What can I say? Bravo!

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