Madame du Cayla (Zoé) is the favorite of this widower king. Daughter of Omer Talon, a magistrate who had unlocked the secrets of the difficult relations between the new king and his brother Louis XVI at the end of the latter's reign, this pretty woman could become the Pompadour of the new regime.
Louis XVIII had rebuilt for Zoé the palace of Saint-Ouen. The king is impotent and she is perhaps not his mistress. Several portraits of the king in his coronation robes attest that Louis XVIII was still hoping to enjoy the splendor of his rank, but he could not be sacred.
Specialist of court portraits and Baron d'Empire, the painter François Gérard overcame without difficulty this political change. In 1823, Madame du Cayla organizes a great feast in her château. A portrait of the king by Gérard is inaugurated on this occasion.
On June 15 in Paris, AuctionArt sells the portrait of Zoé du Cayla on the terrace of the Château de Saint-Ouen with her two children, painted by Gérard between 1821 and 1823, lot 31 estimated € 800K linked here to the bidding platform auction.fr.
This oil on canvas 228 x 177 cm was presented by the king to his favorite and was later owned by her daughter who will become by marriage a princesse de Beauvau-Craon.
Gérard was highly skilled in the realistic portrayal of women in their bright satin dresses fashionable in his time. The portrait of the boy is less effective.