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Gallery Text

Following Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815, David was banished from France. He settled in Brussels, where he painted this portrait of Sieyès (1748– 1836), a fellow exile. Sieyès had been an early proponent of the claims of the Third Estate, or the French commoners, at the outset of the Revolution in 1789. Though he lacked distinction as an orator, he remained a figure of great influence throughout the Revolution, and was instrumental in bringing Bonaparte to power in 1799. His subsequent relations with Napoleon were equivocal, though he remained in favor until he voted for the emperor’s deposition in 1814. This portrait is a restrained testament to an extraordinary depth of shared experience: both men were survivors of nearly thirty years of political turmoil in which they played considerable roles before facing the overthrow of their fortunes and the debasement of their ideals.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Jacques-Louis David, French (Paris 1748 - 1825 Brussels)
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès (1748-1836)
Work Type
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2200, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, The Emergence of Romanticism in Early Nineteenth-Century France
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
97.8 x 74 cm (38 1/2 x 29 1/8 in.)
frame: 114.3 x 92.1 x 8.9 cm (45 x 36 1/4 x 3 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l.: L. David/ Bruxelles/1817
  • inscription: u.l., paint: EMM.JOS. SIEYES.
  • inscription: u.r., paint: AETATIS SUAE 69
  • exhibition label: [1935], back of stretcher, paper: Exposition du 3e centenaire de l'Academie Français. No. 3. Title: Portrait de Sieyes. Nom d'auteur: David. Vicomte de Berenger, 195 B' S' Germain
  • exhibition label: [label from "David et ses eleves" exhibition]
Jacques-Louis David, painted, 1817; to Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès; to Madame Combes, 1856, by descent; to Henri Vicomte de Bérenger, 1913, sold [through Birnbaum via André Weil], to; Grenville Lindall Winthrop, 1936, bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
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

Pierre Alexandre Coupin, Essai sur J. L. David, peintre d'histoire, ancien membre de l'Institut, officier de la Legion-d'honneur, J. Renouard (Paris, France, 1827), pp. 42, 57

J. L. Jules David, Le Peintre Louis David: Souvenirs et documents inedits (Paris, France, 1880), etching after the painting repr. v. II; text v. I, p. 649

Prosper Dorbec, "David Portraitiste", Gazette des Beaux-Arts (1907), vol. XXVII, no. 1, pp. 324-325

David et ses élèves, exh. cat., Petit Palais, Paris (Paris, France, 1913), no. 62

Richard Cantinelli, Jacques-Louis David, 1748-1825, Les Editions G. van Oest (Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium, 1930), no. 144

G. Brunon Guardia, "Paris et la Revolution au Musée Carnavalet", Beaux Arts Magazine (March 1931), vol. 9, no. 3, ill. p. 18

Chinese Sculpture, Bronzes, Jades, Paintings and Drawings, Egyptian and Persian sculpture, Pre-Columbian art; selected from the collection of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1943), p. 3

"Sixteen Reproductions", Harvard Alumni Bulletin (Cambridge, MA, January 8, 1944), vol. XLVI, pp. 217-20

[Unidentified article], The Christian Science Monitor (January 8, 1944), repr.

[Untitled article], Harvard Alumni Bulletin, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, January 8, 1944), vol. XLVI, repr.

"Paintings from the Winthrop Collection", Bulletin of the Fogg Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, March 1945), vol. X, no. 3, pp. 98-103, p. 101, repr.

Azariah Boody Sias, The Sias Family in America 1677 to 1952: The first 275 Years, Florida Press, Inc. (Orlando FL, 1952), repr. on frontispiece

George Levitine, "David's 'Sieyès' in the Fogg Museum and Girodet's 'De Sèze Méditant la Defense du Roi'", The Burlington Magazine (October 1953), p. 335

S. Lane Faison, Jr., A Guide to the Art Museums of New England, Harcourt, Brace and Co. (New York, 1958), p. 118, repr. p. 118, fig. 16

Gordon C. Aymar, The Art of Portrait Painting, Chilton Book Company (Philadelphia, PA, 1967), repr. pl. 32

Dorothy W. Gillerman, ed., Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, 1969), no. 83, p. 112, repr. p. 113

Agnes Mongan, Harvard Honors Lafayette, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1975), no. 40, pp. 115-117, repr. p. 116

Seiji Oshima, David, Shinchosha (Tokyo, Japan, 1976), p. 78, repr. in b/w

Anita Brookner, Jacques-Louis David, Chatto & Windus (London, England, 1980), repr. in b/w, fig. 111

Matthias Bleyl, Das Klassizistische Porträt, Verlag Peter Lang (Frankfurt am Main and Bern, Germany, 1982), pp. 92-93; repr. in b/w as abb. 10

Antoine Schnapper and Arlette Sérullaz, David: Témoin de son Temps, Alpine Fine Arts Collection, Ltd. (New York, NY, 1982), repr. in color, fig. 181, p. 286, text, pps. 283, 286

Luc de Nanteuil, Jacques Louis David, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1985), repr. as color plate 46; text p. 162

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 197, p. 173, ill.

John Leighton, Jacques-Louis David: Portrait of Jacobus Blauw, exh. cat., National Gallery (London, England, 1987), repr. in b/w fig. 13, p. 17

Régis Michel, David, L'art et le politique, Decouvertes Gallimard/Reunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 1988), repr. in color p. 123

François Furet, La Revolution de Turgot a Jules Ferry 1770-1880, Histoire de France, Hachette (Paris, France, 1988), repr. in color p. 160

Antoine Schnapper and Arlette Sérullaz, ed., Jacques-Louis David, 1748-1825, exh. cat., Editions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 1989), repr. in b/w fig. 142, p. 513

Warren Roberts, Jacques-Louis David, Revolutionary Artist, The University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC, 1989), pp. 51, 58, 64, 133, 191, 198; repr. in b/w fig. 87

Bernard Noël, L. David, Crown Publishers Inc. (New York, NY, 1989), repr. in color p. 87

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. 66, color plate; pp. 104, 221, repr. b/w cat. no. 257

Jean-Louis Ferrier, ed., L'Aventure de l'Art au XIXe Siecle, Chene-Hachette (Paris, France, 1991), repr. in color p. 157

Dorothy Johnson, "L'Experience de l'exil: l'art de David à Bruxelles", David contre David : actes du colloque organisé au musée du Louvre par le servic (Paris, France, 1993), p. 1028; repr. p. 1140 as fig. 233

Dorothy Johnson, Jacques-Louis David: Art in Metamorphosis, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ, 1993), pp. 222-224

Shigenobu Kimura, Art and Revolution, Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan, 1994), repr. in color p. 93

Barbara Maria Stafford, Artful Science: Enlightenment, Entertainment,and the Eclipse of Visual Education, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA, 1994), repr. in b/w p. 120, fig. 92

Jacques-Louis David: Portrait de Ramel, auct. cat., Maitre Binoche (Paris, France, October 18 1995), p. 26; repr. p. 33

Aileen Ribeiro, The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France 1750 to 1820, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT and London, England, 1995), pp. 108-109, repr. in b/w fig. 116

James Cuno, Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Ivan Gaskell, and William W. Robinson, Harvard's Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting, ed. James Cuno, Harvard University Art Museums and Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Cambridge, MA, 1996), pp. 184-5

Dorothy Johnson, Jacques-Louis David: The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis, J. Paul Getty Museum (Santa Monica, CA, 1997), pp. 36-7, fig. 26

Masterpieces of world art : Fogg Art Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1997

Sophie Monneret, David et le Néoclassicisme, Editions Pierre Terrail (Paris, France, 1998), p. 189

[Reproduction only], Studies in Romanticism, The Graduate School, Boston University (Boston, Fall 1999)., repr. on cover in b/w

Simon Lee, David, Phaidon Books (London, England, 1999), no. 187, p. 294, repr.

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, Necklines: The Art of Jacques-Louis David after the Terror, Yale University Press (New Haven and London, 1999), p. 35; repr. p. 34 as fig. 12

Gary Tinterow and Philip Conisbee, Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1999), pp. 6, 7

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. 21, pp. 89-91, repr. in color

Christopher Riopelle, Harvard's Winthrop Collection: Nineteenth-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, exh. cat., National Gallery Company Limited (London, 2003), p. 25, cat. 12, ill.

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. 21, pp. 97-99, repr. in color

Robert Dupin, "La Collection Winthrop", Universalia, Encyclopaedia Universalis (Paris, France, 2004), pp. 343-344, p. 344

Friedrich Heer and Sabine Freitag, Für eine gerechte Welt: grosse Dokumente der Menschheit, Primus (Darmstadt, 2004), detail repr. p. 114

Philippe Bordes, Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile, exh. cat., Yale University Press (New Haven, CT and London, 2005), p. IX; pp. 293-295, repr. in b/w as fig. 100

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, "The Self in Exile: David's Portrait of Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyes", David after David: Essays on the Later Work, ed. Mark Ledbury (2007), pp. 232-251, repr. in color Plate 10, repr. in b/w p. 236

Stephan Wolohojian and Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, ed. Stephan Wolohojian, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, 2008), p. 131, repr.

Joël Malrieu, "David et ses doubles: le portrait de Sieyès", Bulletin Jacques-Louis David (2014), 4, pp. 15-58, pp. 29-41 and repr. in color, p. 31

Jonathan Israel, Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History Of The French Revolution From The Rights Of Man To Robespierre, Princeton University Press (New Jersey, 2014), repr. as fig. 3(b) on p. 80

Frauke V. Josenhans, "(Re)Defining the "I" in Exile", Artists in Exile: Expressions of Loss and Hope, Yale University Art Gallery and Yale University Press (U.S.) (New Haven, 2017), pp. 184-207, pp. 186,189, repr. p. 186 as fig. 1

Dorle Bennohr and Christoph Meyer, ed., Horizonte, Bildungshaus Schulbuchverlage GmbH (Brunswick, 2017), pp. 191-192; repr. as fig. M15 on p. 191

Exhibition History

Exposition David et ses elèves, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris, Paris, 04/07/1913 - 06/09/1913

Troisième centenaire de l'Académie française, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 06/01/1935 - 06/30/1935

Chinese sculpture, bronzes, jades, paintings and drawings, Egyptian and Persian sculpture, Pre-Columbian art : selected from the collection of Grenville Lindall Winthrop, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/01/1943 - 02/28/1944

Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/23/1969 - 03/31/1969

Harvard Honors Lafayette, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 12/03/1975 - 03/12/1976

Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977

Masterpieces of European Art, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 06/22/1985 - 09/15/1985

France and the Portrait, 1799-1870, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/03/1994 - 01/29/2002

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

Re-View: S424-426 Western Art from 1560 to 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/16/2008 - 06/18/2011

Ancient to Modern, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 2200 19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

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