Christiane de Preval (French, b. 1876)
Entrance to the Abbey at Panthemont
Oil on canvas, signed lower right and located on a paper label on the reverse.
Painting Size: 25.75” x 20”
Frame Size: 29.5” x 23”
Christiane de Preval was born in the Pyrenees in 1876. She was primarily a painter of interiors and architecture and was a student of Marcel Baschet. She exhibited in Paris at the Salon des Artistes Français from 1911 on and won a silver medal in 1922.
The Abbaye Royale de Panthemont was originally a convent of Augustinian nuns but over the years had become quite dilapidated. In the 18th century abbess Marie-Catherine de Bethizy Mézières took over the rebuilding effort and hired Pierre Contant d’Ivry as the architect. The facility was intended to accommodate girls of high society and serve as a retreat for ladies of quality.
In 1784, at the advice of close friends, Thomas Jefferson enrolled his 12 year old daughter Martha at the Abbaye and later her younger sister Maria. Anyone familiar with Jefferson’s religious views might be surprised by this choice but as Jefferson assured his sister, “There are in it as many protestants as Catholics, and not a word is ever spoken to them on the subject of religion.” However, when Martha began to express a desire to convert to Catholicism and join the convent, Jefferson removed both his daughters from the school.
Benezit, E., Dictonnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et
Kloss, William, “Martha Jefferson Portrait Miniature” Diplomatic Rooms Online
"Martha Jefferson Randolph." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.