Portrait of a Man, oil sketch on canvas, attributed to Rupert Bunny c.1900 P463
This is a work of high quality, on French canvas, perhaps a self-portrait, and most probably, judging from the style and the man’s wing-collar and whiskers, dating from the beginning of the last century. The painting is highly assured and the life of the subject is conveyed vividly. We can only speculate as to who the subject or the artist might be or whether it was indeed painted in Paris. But the work, though a sketch, is extremely fine. I am going out on a long limb based on other images of his paintings and photographs of the man, that the artist is Rupert Bunny and that it is indeed a self portrait. This Australian painter lived in Paris for much of his career and a number of his paintings display the same label on the backs of their canvases as this oil sketch does. We would welcome further information. We have appended a photograph of Rupert Bunny in his youth.
The label is from “Paul Foinet et fils”. He was part of a family of canvas, pigment, and material dealers for the 19th-20th Century French artists. Paul Foinet founded the business in the 1880s, marketing his traditional artisan-made products by door-to-door visits to artists. The Foinet mark is found on all the canvases Bunny painted during his successful career as an ultra-fashionable painter in Paris before and after the Great War.