The French Revolution (1789–99) disrupted all traditional hierarchies, including that of art, which habitually placed history painting in the highest regard. When Isabey exhibited this portrait of his friend and fellow artist in the 1796 salon, drawings had taken on significance as a more personal and egalitarian form of art. Isabey depicts Barbier as a solid citizen of the new Republic. The tasseled cap and embroidered jacket recall Barbier’s service as a hussar, a type of soldier; the vest, cravat, and “dog-ear” hairstyle were popular among young men in Paris at the time. Traditionally, however, a fashionable man would not be shown smoking, an activity usually associated with lower classes. Isabey’s focus on the long pipe and steady stream of smoke made the drawing especially populist for the time.

Download this artwork (provided by The Cleveland Museum of Art).
Learn more about this artwork.


  • Title: Jacques Luc Barbier-Valbonne
  • Creator: Jean-Baptiste Isabey (French, 1767-1855)
  • Date Created: 1796
  • Physical Dimensions: Sheet: 26.2 x 20.7 cm (10 5/16 x 8 1/8 in.)
  • Provenance: (César de Hauke, Paris?, according to departmental catalog sheet); Henry G. Dalton, Cleveland (according to departmental card)
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1950.496
  • Medium: Black chalk with stumping, heightened with white gouache on beige wove paper
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: France, 19th century
  • Credit Line: Gift of Harry D. Kendrick
  • Collection: DR - French
  • Accession Number: 1950.496

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app


Google apps