In the late 1880s he had taken up a position in a bank in Marseilles, but the death of his father left him with a considerable fortune, which he managed to consume in the following years. Only then did he begin a career as a professional artist and subsequently moved to Paris.
Borgeaud is known to have executed some 300 paintings, of which only 15 were individual portraits, including one of Coco Chanel, sold at Christie’s in Zurich in 2012 for SFr30,000. Almost all his other works were scenes of urban life and, in particular, interiors, such as his 2ft 5in x 2ft (74 x 61cm) canvas Couple with a dog from 1917.
It is characteristic of his works from this period: his sitters are pensive and seemingly incommunicative. They have been identified as Monsieur Poirrier, the mayor of a town in Brittany, and his housemaid Baptistine. The presence of the dog is far from coincidental. Cats or dogs often featured in Borgeaud’s compositions.
The painting, which has been consigned by a Swiss collector, is being offered by Beurret, Bailly & Widmer in Basel on March 25 with a guide of SFr30,000-50,000.