Portrait of the coachbuilder Pierre Simons and his wife Sarah Lane

The King Baudouin Foundation has acquired two miniature portraits of the Brussels coachman Pierre Simons (1767-1847) and his wife Sarah Lane, painted by the miniaturist Louis-Marie Autissier (1772-1830).

Born in Vannes, in the Morbihan region of Brittany, Autissier studied under the miniaturist and landscape artist Vautrin. From this period in Brittany, Autissier retained for many years a pronounced taste for stormy skies and grey background in his paintings. After having briefly served in the French army, he left for Brussels, where he established himself as a miniaturist painter in 1796.

His precise, meticulous style rapidly charmed the local elite and the number of commissions soon grew. This rapid success led to his being called to serve the King of Holland, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806, for whom he became the court miniaturist.

The portraits of Pierre Simons and his wife, painted in oils on ivory and in their original gilded wooden frames, provide a fairly representative view of Autissier’s art and in particular his feeling for materials and fabrics. In this respect, Sarah Lane’s lace veil and the delicate chiffon of her sleeves are absolutely remarkable.

These portraits will shortly be entrusted to the Royal Museums of Art and History, where they will be integrated into the new presentation of the 19th century decorative arts collections.

Miniature portraits
Material / technique: 
Oil on ivory, gilded wood
10 cm
Type of acquisition: 
Acquired by the Christian Bauwens Fund
Year of acquisition: 
Depository institution: 
Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels