1739 ca1802, Jan 24
a well-known and highly regarded French artist during the second half of the 18th century. One of his paintings, Portrait of a Seated Gentleman, is the subject of some mystery. The well-executed portrait, dated 1785, shows an 18th-century gentleman sitting at a desk and beginning to write on a single sheet of paper. On the desk in the foreground is a copy of De la Caisse d'Escompte, a financial pamphlet published on 17 May 1785 by the famous French orator and statesman Mirabeau. This portrait is particularly intriguing because it was painted several years before Mirabeau achieved prominence, and because the conspicuous financial pamphlet ultimately had important repercussions leading up to the French Revolution. It is believed by some to be the earliest known portrait of Thomas Jefferson.
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