Madame His

Marble bust of a woman draped in a garment that exposes her shoulders with long, curly hair pulled back away from her face

Jean-Antoine Houdon  (active 1741–1828)
Madame His, 1775
31 1/2 x 17 x 12 1/2 in. (80 x 43.2 x 31.8 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Victor Thaw, 2007 (2007.2.01)

Collector Eugene V. Thaw gave the Frick a marble portrait bust  of Madame His by Jean-Antoine Houdon. Anne L. Poulet, then Director of the Frick, who in 2003 organized the acclaimed touring exhibition, Jean-Antoine Houdon: Sculptor of the Enlightenment, commented,  “It is a great pleasure to see this sculpture find a permanent home at The Frick Collection, an institution celebrated for its holdings in French eighteenth-century painting, sculpture, and decorative arts. I know this portrait well, and it is a work of exquisite beauty and refinement, as well as a rare surviving example that preserves Houdon’s original luminous surface treatment. It is one of the only known examples in the world that remain in this remarkable state of preservation. The fact that the provenance of Madame His is known from the time it was carved by Houdon is also of significance. This acquisition is, indeed, a superb addition to the Frick, and we thank Eugene Thaw for his generosity.”