Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Woman At The organ Before A Statue Of The Virgin And Child (Saint Cecilia?)
    Oil on canvas
    65 x 51 inches (165.1 x 129.5 cm)

    French painter and lithographer Marie-Philippe Coupin de la Couperie was born at Versailles and trained under the celebrated French romantic painter, Girodet. He was employed by the Sèvres porcelain manufactory and, in 1815, was named professor of drawing at the military college of La Fleche, and six months later at the Ecole de Saint-Cyr. In 1832, he received the croix de chevalier of the Legion of Honor. He exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1812 to 1833. Paintings by Coupin de la Couperie are in the collections of the Louvre, Paris; the Napoleon Museum, Arenberg; and the Musée national du château, Pau.

    This ambitious painting is characteristic of the type of large-scale works with literary or historical themes Coupin de la Couperie produced for his greatest patron, the Duchess de Berry--Marie-Caroline-Ferdinande-Louise de Bourbon (1798-1870). She was the eldest daughter of King Francis I of the Two Sicilies and his first wife, Marie-Clementine of Austria, daughter of Emperor Leopold II and the niece of Marie-Antoinette . Thus she was from a generation younger than her husband, Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry (1778-1820), the younger son of Charles, Count of Artois, later Charles X of France (1757-1836), whom she married at the age of seventeen in 1816, and with whom she had four children. She was one of the leading collectors and patrons of her day, as well as the owner of important old masters including a Vermeer now in The Frick Collection, New York. Following the collapse of Charles X's government and his cousin Louis-Philippe 's betrayal of a solemn undertaking to sustain the Duchess's son Henri as King, she became the standard bearer for legitimist resistance. Leading the uprising in the Vendée she was captured by Louis-Philippe 's troops and imprisoned. There she was found to be pregnant and this scandalous discovery, although she had actually secretly married the father of the child, Count don Ettore Lucchesi-Palli, in Rome in December 1831, quickly led to the end of royalist resistance. The Duchess of Berry went on to have a number of children by Lucchesi-Palli, whose descendants ultimately inherited much of her splendid collection.

    The large-scale dimensions of this work, as well as its arched top, suggest it may have been commissioned as an altarpiece. Indeed, the figure of the well-attired woman seated at the organ is probably intended to represent Saint Cecilia, who is a patron saint of church music, musicians, and singers and is generally portrayed at the organ.

    Condition Report*: Normal signs of wear as appropriate with age, relined; craquelure throughout; discolored varnish and surface grime; small paint losses along the bottom edge, lower left corner and left edge; scattered strengthening and 5 inch vertical line of incipient cleavage left of the face.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2007
    24th-25th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,173

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold on May 25, 2007 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 8 days left to consign to the 2021 May 7 American Art Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    While I regret my inability to personally view the work, you provided an excellent substitute for my not being able to do so, and I look forward to future Heritage auctions.
    Allan Rappaport,
    Tiburon, CA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search