Nonetheless, he trained as an artist under Paul Delaroche at the Ecole des Beaux Arts before leaving for Italy and continued to paint all his life, portraits and Orientalist scenes being his favourite subjects.
On November 17 in Toulouse, Labarbe is offering a rare example of le Gray’s painting: a portrait of his wife, the Italian Palmira Madeline Gertrude Leonardi whom he met in Rome. Four out of their six children died prematurely.
The large 4ft 1in x 3ft 1½in (1.25m x 95cm) unpublished oil on canvas, signed and dated lower right 1853 Gustave le Gray, was exhibited at the 1853 Salon under the title portrait de Mme G.L. and has passed down by descent through the family. The estimate is €30,000-50,000.