The exquisite oil painting titled “Portrait d’Amelie-Justine et de Charles-Edouard Pontois” is a testament to the artistic prowess of Adele Romany, a painter whose neoclassical style has captivated audiences and art enthusiasts alike. Born as Jeanne-Marie Mercier in 1769, Adele Romany was the illegitimate offspring of the Marquis de Romance, Captain of the Guard, and Jeanne-Marie Mercier, a married woman. At the tender age of nine, she was legitimized and adopted her father’s surname, “de Romance.” As she matured, she chose to go by the name Adele and later married Francois-Antoine Romany, a fellow artist specializing in miniature paintings.
The portrait, which measures 92cm in height and 73cm meters in width, was completed in the year 1800, as indicated by the signature and date inscribed on the lower left corner of the canvas. This piece of art holds a special place in history, having been exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1800 under the number 325 and described as “Portrait d’une jeune personne et de son frere” (Portrait of a young person with her brother). The provenance of the painting traces back to the collection of the artist herself and remained within her descendants until 2008.
Adele Romany’s talent was widely recognized, and her portraits enjoyed immense popularity in Paris. Her skill in capturing the essence of her subjects was so profound that Napoleon himself awarded her a golden medal at the Salon of 1808.
The “Portrait d’Amelie-Justine et de Charles-Edouard Pontois” is particularly significant as it reveals a more personal side of Romany’s life, showcasing her affection for her family. The subjects of the painting are the children of her cousin Charlotte-Marie Mercier: Amelie-Justine Pontois, who later married Louis-Marie-Amable Laidin de la Bouterie in 1818, and Charles-Edouard Pontois, who had a distinguished career, serving as a French ambassador and earning the title of count of Pontois.