Victor Orsel (French, 1795–1850)
Study of a Bust of a Man
Pencil on paper, 11 1/2 x 9 3/4 in.

Though better known for his religious compositions, Orsel completed a handful of portraits throughout his career and even showed one at his Salon debut in 1822. Little is known of the present work including the sitter’s identity. It is interesting to note, however, the detail Orsel has put into studying the draping of the male sitter’s clothing. In preparation for a painting, artists would often make detailed sketches of different parts of the composition––in a portrait this included examining the sitter’s face, posture, and clothing, with particular attention given to how their garments folded and wrinkled.