|Biographical entries in old dictionaries|
Entry by Margaret Denton, 2004
Henriette (Elisabeth-Henriette-Marthe) Lorimier was born in Paris on August 7, 1775, daughter of Antoine-Jean Lorimier and Marguerite Gangnat or Gangnas. She died in Paris on April 1, 1854. Henriette Lorimier lived with the diplomat and man of letters François-Charles-Hugues-Laurent Pouqueville (b. 1770), whom she met in 1817, until his death in 1838. A student of the history painter Jean-Baptiste Regnault, she exhibited portraits and genre paintings at the Paris Salons from 1800 to 1806 and from 1810 to 1814. Mlle. Lorimier was awarded a first-class medal in 1806 for Jeanne de Navarre, which was purchased in 1807 by the Empress Joséphine. In 1805 Princess Caroline Murat purchased La Chèvre nourrice, a painting exhibited at the Salon of 1804.
Henriette Lorimier exhibited both portraits and genre subjects, but it was the latter that drew the critics's attention. The first painting by her that was commented upon was La Chèvre nourrice which represents a young mother who is unable to nurse her child, sadly watching a goat performing this service. Critics claimed that this scene of maternal love and regret could only have been painted by a woman and confirmed the appropriateness of such subjects for women painters. This praise has to be considered in context, for in 1804 Angélique Mongez exhibited a large history painting that challenged the deeply entrenched notion that history painting was exclusively a male domain. Henriette Lorimier again showed a large genre painting, Jeanne de Navarre, in 1806. The painting depicts Jeanne de Navarre with her young son at the tomb of her husband Jean IV, duke of Brittany who died in 1399. Although it was a historical subject, Jeanne de Navarre did not demonstrate the "noblesse de style" required of a history painting, and thus did not threaten the status quo. Jeanne de Navarre was described as a lesson for all mothers because the Duchess is shown fulfilling the duty of instructing her son in filial piety.
For many critics this painting was an example of the success that a woman could obtain within the confines of genre painting. The author of a Salon review that appeared in Mercure de France commended Henriette Lorimier for not departing from the graceful subjects in which her sex had the advantage. An article published in L'Atheneum, however, confirmed the necessity of her remaining in the domain of genre painting: "We venture even to promise her still greater success, if she wants to confine herself to painting the sweet emotions of the soul, tender and delicate sentiments; in short, to represent scenes of domestic life, and leave to men historical subjects".
- 1802 (Salon) :Une jeune fille, près d'une fenêtre, pleurant sur un passage d'Atala. Non localisé.
- 1804 (Salon) : La Chèvre nourrice. Non localisé -- une gravure d'après le tableau publiée dans C. Landon, Annales du musée, 1805, pl. 72.
- c. 1805 : Autoportrait. Dijon, Musée Magnin.
- 1805 : Portrait de Sophie Regnault. Non localisé.
- 1806 (Salon) : Jeanne de Navarre. Rueil-Malmaison, Musée national du château de Malmaison.
- 1810 (Salon) : L'Enfant reconnaissant. Vendu aux enchères par Sotheby's, Monaco, le 21 juin 1987, no 727.
- 1812 (Salon) : Portrait de feu M. Joseph Delaleu, curé de Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois. Non localisé.
- 1816 : Portrait de la marquise de Reinepont. Vendu aux enchères par Drouot, Paris, le 2 décembre 1992, no 98.
- 1830 : Portrait de François-Charles-Hugues-Laurent Pouqueville. Versailles, Musée de Versailles.
- 1840 : Portrait de Céleste Buisson de Lavigne, vicomtesse de Chateaubriand. Paris, Maison de retraite Marie-Thérèse.
- Sans date : Portrait de Mme. Marjolin, née Duval.Grenoble, Musée des Beaux-Arts.
- Denton, Margaret, "A Woman's Place: The gendering of genre in post-revolutionary French Painting, Art History, 21, 1998, p.219-246.
- Gabet, Charles, Dictionnaire des artistes de l'école française au XIXe siècle, Paris, 1831, p.457.
- Oppenheimer, Margaret, Women Artists in Paris: 1791-1814, Ph. D. dissertation, Institute of Fine Arts, New York, 1996.
- Pougetoux, Alain, «Peinture troubadour, histoire et littérature: autour de deux tableaux des collections de l'Impératrice Joséphine», Revue du Louvre, 1994-2, p.51-60.
- Pougetoux, Alain, "Un autoportrait d'Henriette Lorimier", Bulletin de la société des amis des musées de Dijon, 1995-1, p.47-51.
Selected bibliography of images
- Autoportrait, c. 1805. Dijon, Musée Magnin.