There is currently a silhouette on ebay (ending today) that purports to be by Augustin Edouart. There are now 6 bidders who have left 15 bids with a bit more than 4 hours to go on the listing. The listing can be found at http://www.ebay.com/itm/371294602531?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT I’ve watched this listing and hesitated to say anything because the figures are very good but there are some things that really bother me about the piece. First, there is a figure of John Ogden by Edouart in the National Portrait which is very close but not an exact duplicate. That, in itself, is not a game-changer because the figure in the NPG is part of a folio of important Americans that Edouart did for himself and for marketing. Those silhouettes are not exact duplicates and most were probably cut from looking at his regular duplicate folio so that they have slight differences. But the background is much more precise and crisp than any background than I have ever seen used by Edouart. That’s a real clue. Then compare signatures and notations. See first the inscription from the ebay listing with Ogden’s name and the place of the supposed cutting “Saratoga”. Now compare it with a real Edouart notation and see how the “S” in Saratoga is different. Also, on the ebay listing, look at how dark the writing is–more black than brown. It should have faded to brown.
But, also, when you look closely at the writing, it almost appears that it has been traced over a lighter notation. The “O” in Ogden appears very tentative. This might suggest that someone tried to reproduce Edouart’s signature lightly at first, then went back over it to sharpen it up. But I’ve never seen Edouart’s writing so tentative. One thing that Edouart never seemed to be was tentative.
Now, let’s look at the part of the inscription under Mary Ogden’s figure. Again, it seems to have been traced over and, in my opinion, the signature does not look like Edouart’s true signature. Also, note her feet which are long, thin, and oddly shaped–almost like the witch’s feet from Wizard of Oz.
Is it real or fake? Well, everyone has to decide for themselves. The figures are nicely done, with the possible complaint that the cutting on the heads are not quite smooth enough for Edouart. But, there are enough warning signs that I won’t be bidding.
Oh, goodness, here is something I just noticed and should warn you away from the silhouette. Look at Edouart’s signature under Mary Ogden. It is “Aug” with a superscript “st”. Edouart signed his name “Aug” with a superscript “n” for Augustin….not Auguste which he is often called in modern times.