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Portrait of a man seated at a desk, facing left

In a three quarter view, a man facing left turns his head to look directly at us. He sits at a desk writing on a sheet of white paper with a quill in his right hand, and holding another sheet of paper in his left. He has short, gray-brown tousled hair and hazel eyes ruddy cheeks and a hint of gray stubble on his chin. Under a heavy black overcoat, he wears a white cravat tucked into a white shirt with a high, stiff white collar. An olive brown wall behind him is the only background.

Gallery Text

This intimate portrait of the artist’s lifelong friend and doctor, Thomas Dagoumer (1762–1833/35), shows the sitter holding a quill pen and folded piece of paper, allusions to his accomplishments as an author of medical tracts. Prud’hon and Dagoumer were first introduced in Rome, where they both studied from 1784 to 1788. Prud’hon had won the Prix de Rome in painting from the French Academy in Dijon, and Dagoumer was pursuing a career as an architect. Their friendship continued throughout their lifetimes, and this painting from four years before Prud’hon’s death was one of the last works the artist exhibited at the Salon, to critical acclaim. The subtle and arresting effects of light throughout the composition, reinforced by the white highlights on the edges of Dagoumer’s cravat and shirt collar and on the piece of paper, suggest a private encounter between viewer and sitter, a feature for which Prud’hon’s portraits were often celebrated.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, French (Cluny 1758 - 1823 Paris)
Dr. Thomas Dagoumer (1762-1833/1835)
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Dr. Dagoumer / Portrait of Dr. Dagoumer / Portrait de M. D***
Work Type
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2220, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, Rococo and Neoclassicism in the Eighteenth Century
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Physical Descriptions

Oil on canvas
61 x 51.4 cm (24 x 20 1/4 in.)
framed: 80.5 x 70.5 cm (31 11/16 x 27 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l.: P. Prud'hon [1819]
  • inscription: Object file gives inscribed date as 1819; this is no longer legible on painting due to darkening.


Recorded Ownership History
Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, (1819- ?), gift; to Dr. Thomas Dagoumer (? - 1835) , bequest; to his servant Mlle. Elisabeth (1835) sold; to [Roehn the Elder], [1] sold; to Laurent Laperlier. (1860-1867),sold; [his sale, Hôtel Drouot, April 11-13, 1867, no 46]; to
Dugléré. [Galerie Trotti et Cie, Paris, 1922]. [2] Duc de Trévise (? - 1938), sold; [his sale Charpentier, May 19, 1938, no. 37] sold; [through Martin Birnbaum]; to Grenville L. Winthrop (1938-1943) bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.

[1] Goncourt 1876 (pp. 49-50) indicates that Roehn bought the work from "Mlle. Elisabeth" "in exchange for a life annuity paid for many years."

[2] Galerie Trotti isted as lender in 1922 exhibition catalogue

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art


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Publication History

  • Emeric-David, "Beaux-Arts. Salon, Troisième Article.", Le Moniteur Universel (October 12, 1819), no. 285, p. 1324, p. 1324
  • Fabien Pillet, "Musée royal. Exposition des tableaux.", Journal de Paris (September 4, 1819), pp. 2--3, p. 3
  • "Notice sur l'exposition des tableaux en 1819. Second article.", Revue Encyclopédique (1819), pp. 532-533, p. 532
  • "Un souvenir de Prud'hon. L'enlèvement d'Europe. Gravé par Prud'hon, d'après l'antique.", Journal spécial des lettres et des beaux-arts (Paris, January 11, 1835), 1, no. 2, p. 35, p. 35
  • Edmond de Goncourt, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, dessine et grave de P. P. Prud'hon, Rapilly (Paris, France, 1876), pp. 49-50
  • Philippe Burty, "Profils d'amateurs. I. Laurent Laperlier.", L'Art (1879), 16, pp. 147-151, p. 148
  • Henri Clouzot, "Le quartier de la Paix, hier et aujourd'hui.", La Renaissance de l'art français (June 1923), 6, no. 6, pp. 290-313, p. 352, repr.
  • Jean Guiffrey, L'oeuvre de P. P. Prud'hon, A. Colin (Paris, France, 1924), no. 496, pp. 185-186, and p. 484 (add.)
  • Collection du Duc de Trévise: Catalogue des tableaux et dessins du XIXme siècle par Carpeaux, Chasseriau, Corot, Delacroix..., auct. cat., Galerie Charpentier (Paris, France, May 19, 1938), no. 37
  • Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 125; repr. as no. 268
  • Sylvain Laveissière, Prud'hon ou le rêve du bonheur, exh. cat., Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 1997), p. 280, repr. as fig. 200c
  • Sylvain Laveissière, "Notre Saint Prud'hon: Une letter inédit de Laurent Laperlier à Philippe Burty", Mélanges en hommage à Pierre Rosenberg (Paris, France, 2001), p. 252
  • Alvin L. Clark, Jr., "Un grand collectionneur américain de dessins français: Grenville L. Winthrop et les oeuvres de Pierre-Paul Prud'hon au Fogg Art Museum", Pierre-Paul Prud'hon: actes du colloque organisé au musée du Louvre par le service culturel, le 17 novembre 1997, La documentation française, Musée du Louvre (Paris, 2001), pp. 177-202, p. 191 n. 3
  • Stephan Wolohojian, ed., A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press (U.S.) (New York, 2003), no. 106, pp. 264-266, repr. in color
  • Stephan Wolohojian, Ingres, Burne-Jones, Whistler, Renoir... La Collection Grenville L. Winthrop, exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2003), no. 106, pp. 276-277, repr. in color

Exhibition History

  • Annual Exhibition, 1819, Musée Royal des Arts, Paris, 08/25/1819 - 12/31/1819
  • Tableaux de l'ecole française, 26, Boulevard des Italiens, 01/01/1860 - 12/31/1860
  • Exposition P.-P. Prud'hon, Petit Palais, Paris, Paris, 05/01/1922 - 06/05/1922
  • A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon, 03/15/2003 - 05/26/2003; National Gallery, London, 06/25/2003 - 09/14/2003; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10/23/2003 - 01/25/2004
  • For Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty: Highlights from the Collection of Grenville L. Winthrop, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/16/2004
  • 32Q: 2220 18th-19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

Verification Level

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