LOUIS DE MONI (Breda 1698 – 1771 Leiden)

Louis de Moni

Louis de Moni (Breda 1698 – 1771 Leiden)

Study of a Woman à Mi-Corps

Black and white chalk on blue paper, black ink framing lines, 233 x 168 mm (9.2 x 6.7 inch)

~ Jhr Johan Goll van Franckenstein (1722 – 1785), Amsterdam, his number ‘N 2422.’ (pen and brown ink, verso) (Lugt 2987)
~ Unidentified collector’s mark (possibly Adolf von Heydeck [d. 1856], Lugt 2519)
~ George Abrams, by whom placed on loan to the Fogg Art Museum
~ Private collection, The Netherlands


Born in Breda in 1698, where he was baptised on March 2, Louis de Moni was active in The Hague by 1721, where he was a pupil in the Confrerie Pictura.1 De Moni was taught by Jan Baptista Andreas Biset, Ferdinand van Kessel I and notably by Philip van Dijk, in whose studio he worked from 1721 to 1725. In the following year, he accompanied Van Dijk to Cassel, where he worked for the Prince-Elector of Hesse-Cassel. De Moni settled in Leiden in 1729, where he worked for the remainder of his life.

De Moni is best known for his finely painted genre pieces in the manner of Gerrit Dou and Frans van Mieris and is indeed considered as one of the Leiden ‘fijnschilders’ (fine painters). A good example of his meticulously-executed paintings is the Lace-Worker with Boy Blowing Bubbles in the Mauritshuis, The Hague (fig.).2 Further paintings by De Moni are preserved in the collections of the Lakenhal Museum in Leiden and the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe. De Moni was also active as an art dealer and as a restorer and copyist of paintings, in which he excelled.3

Few drawings by De Moni have survived. Rare examples are two self-portrait studies in black and white chalk on blue paper in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, which also owns a further self-portrait in pastel.4 Our drawing can for instance be compared to De Moni’s drawing Study of a Boy on a Bench in the Prentenkabinet der Rijksuniversiteit Leiden (fig.).5 Although the present figure study has so far not been encountered in a painting by De Moni, a similar female figure with arm placed on the hip occurs in a signed painting of a Woman Reading a Letter that was on the London art market in 1937 (fig.).6

We are grateful to Charles Dumas for confirming the authorship of De Moni, and for furthermore confirming the ownership by Goll van Franckenstein.7

1. For the artist, see: E.J. Sluijter a.o. (ed.), Leidse Fijnschilders: van Gerrit Dou tot Frans van Mieris de Jonge, 1630-1760, exh. cat. Leiden (Lakenhal) 19988, pp. 174-181 and F.G. Meijer, ‘Aandacht voor twee vroeg achttiende-eeuwse kunstenaarsportretten: een zelfportret van Louis de Moni (1698-1771) en een onopgelost raadsel’, in: S. Craft-Giepmans a.o., Portret in Beeld. Collegiale bijdragen voor Karen Schaffers-Bodenhausen, The Hague 2007 (extra edition of the RKD Bulletin), pp. 40-45
2. Oil on panel, 39 x 32 cm, inv. no. 116, signed and dated ‘L: De Moni f: / 1742’.
3. These activities are discussed by Junko Aono, ‘Reproducing the Golden Age: copies after seventeenth-century Dutch genre paintings in the first half of the eighteenth century’, Oud Holland, vol. 121, 2008, pp. 8-18.
4. Respectively black and white chalk on blue-grey paper, 175 x 130 mm, inv. no. RP-T-1940-234; black and white chalk on blue-grey paper, 156 x 118 mm, inv. no. RP-T-1940-235; and pastel on blue paper, 211 x 182 mm, inv. no. RP-T-1940-233.
5. Black and white chalk on blue paper, dimensions unknown, inv. no. PK-T-1679, signed or inscribed ‘L. de Moni f’.; R.J. te Rijdt, Nederlandse figuurstudies 1700-1850, exh. cat. Amsterdam (Rijksprentenkabinet) 1994, cat. no. 79, repr.
6. Oil on panel, 22.8 x 18.4 cm, signed ‘L. de Moni’, Christie’s, London, 9 July 1937, lot 58.
7. Email correspondence, 20 February 2024.