A Trompe l`Oeil Portrait of a young Girl behind a broken Pane of Glass

A Trompe l`Oeil Portrait of a young Girl behind a broken Pane of Glass





French School 

A Trompe l`Oeil Portrait of a young Girl behind a broken Pane of Glass

 Oil on canvas

 39.7 x 33 cms

155/8 x 13 ins

Gabriel Grésely was a self- taught artist who came to Paris to improve his artistic technique. He was born on 8th January 1712 in L`Isle-sur-le-Doubs, near Montbéliard in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte region of eastern France just a few kilometres from the Swiss border and came from a family of well-known glass makers.

He specialised in trompe l'oeil paintings, especially with prints, (often after the draftsman and printmaker Gabriel Perelle), pinned to plain wooden paneling or boards. Sometimes these prints and drawings are held in place by ribbon attached tightly across the wood and in other works playing cards, letters and notes, quill pens, sticks of sealing wax and scissors are arranged around the composition. Other artists who produced similar subject matter was the earlier Flemish painter Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts (c.1610-c.1675) and the French artist Wallerand Vaillant (1623-1677). Gresely also painted portraits with the sitter looking out from behind a broken pane of glass but examples of these are rare. Another artist of the time who painted trompe l`oeils like this was the eminent portraitist Louis Léopold Boilly (1761-1845) whose "Self Portrait with Broken Glass" can be seen in the Musée-Hôtel Sandelin, Saint-Omer.

Upon his arrival in Paris Grésely was shocked to discover that one of his paintings had preceded him to the city and was being sold as the work of a renowned master. Exposing the fraud gained him considerable notoriety, establishing his reputation and consequently he was inundated with commissions. One of his clients was Comte de Caylus who purchased a number of his works.

He was forced to leave Paris because of poor health and he moved to Besançon in his native province. He continued to work there producing the trompe l'oeils for which he was renowned but also portraits, genre subjects and still life until his death in 1756.

Museums where his work can be seen include The Cooper Gallery, Dijon and Besançon, holding works such as: "Young girl with a basket of grapes", "Swiss drinker", "Trompe l`oeil", "Two young girls training a dog" and "A young boy and a young girl giving cherries to a bird"

Bibliography: Dictionnaire des Peintres - E Benezit

Trompe-l'Oeil Painting - Miriam Milman


1712 - 1756


Oil on canvas