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Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Portrait Bust of a Man

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In a bust half life-size a man of about fifty is portrayed looking ahead and slightly to his left. He wears a wig with two long horizontal curls over each ear and the rest of the hair pulled back and tied at the nape of his neck with a bow. His eyes, which have a lively, amused expression, are...

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Signed and dated on back of truncation: houdon,f.1786.


1925, La Bouillerie, Crosmière, Sarthe, France; December 4, 1925, La Bouillerie sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, lot 17 bis [see note 1]. Until 1937, David David-Weill (b. 1871 - d. 1952), Neuilly-sur-Seine, France [see note 2]; 1937, sold by David-Weill to Wildenstein and Company, New York [see note 3]; October 28, 1943, sold by Wildenstein to Forsyth Wickes (b. 1876 - d. 1964), New York and Newport, RI; 1965, bequest of Forsyth Wickes to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 24, 1965) NOTES: [1] Sold as "Petit buste ... représentant Monsieur de Biré ... Appartient à N. de X...". See "The Forsyth Wickes Collection" (Boston, 1972), p. 157, cat. no. 104. [2] David David-Weill was an important figure in the art world, forming a large collection of eighteenth-century French paintings and sculpture and other works of art, as well as serving as the President du Conseil des Musées de France. In 1937 he sold many objects from his collection to Wildenstein and Company (see below, n. 2). Subsequently, when France fell to Germany in 1940, David-Weill fled Paris. At this time, much of his collection was seized by the Nazis. Many of these objects were returned to him following the war. Because this sculpture had been sold to Wildenstein in 1937, it was not among David-Weill's possessions during World War II and was not subject to Nazi looting. [3] See "Sale of the David-Weill Collection," Art News, February 27, 1937, pp. 12, 20.

Credit Line

Bequest of Forsyth Wickes—The Forsyth Wickes Collection

French, 1786


Overall: 34.9 x 27.9 cm (13 3/4 x 11 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Stone; white marble with separate white marble socle