Etienne Liotard: The Taste of Truth and Chocolate

The fact that every painting has a backstory makes adoring it even more interesting. Every painter has a perspective in their minds before they pick up the brush and start mixing colors in the palette.

Painters like Pablo Picasso were known to make their drawings with a pencil first before putting several coats of paints over them. Several years after the painting was produced researchers found that Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon had several coats of paints and some characters that were in the draft but not in the artwork that is now available.

So, things like these matter to a great extent, especially to an art enthusiast and a historian. Similarly, we have another painting that needs to be discussed in detail and that is “The Chocolate Girl” by Etienne Liotard.

The Story Behind “The Chocolate Girl”

The model depicted in the painting is said to be working as a chocolate peddler coming from the Baltauf family living in Vienna. Before this painting the model came into the news, the said model, named Anna got the eye of a nobleman from the Dietrichstein family.

After the nobleman married Anna, she hit the news and became famous so did her beauty. Her work before the marriage is not confirmed and it was only assumed that she was working as a chocolate peddler.

More than a poor girl getting married to a nobleman the news of any other girl not being able to prove worthy of a nobleman. Anna got lucky this time and she went from a poor girl straight to being a princess’s wife. At the time of the marriage, Anna was only 20 years of age and the painting was a gift from her new husband.

There’s Another Story Behind the Painting

Well, there is another take on the origins and history of this painting, and this time it has nothing to do with the noblemen and maids. Some sources say that the painting, “The Chocolate Girl” was purchased by Francesco Algarotti in 1745. After this, the painting became a part of the art collection of August III of Poland.

Steaming ahead to 1855, the painting, which is referred to as the serving maid from Vienna, found its home at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister situated in Dresden. A few years after this, the Walter and Baker Chocolate Company acquired the rights to use the painting in its entirety for the company representation.

Did Walter and Baker Fabricate the Love Story?

There is no straight answer to this question. We can only state the facts and develop an understanding of how the painting came to be and what it has gone through all these years. So, as it is said that Walter and Baker was a famous Chocolate company in America and they bought the rights to the painting, which was to become the first American trademark and also the oldest trademark in the world for that matter.

The owner of the chocolate company went to Europe and he was fortunate enough to spot this beautiful painting at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister. He liked the painting and 2 years after his visit, “The Chocolate Girl” became the face of the company.

The part where the painting was first bought by Francesco Algarotti is true and it is also believed that at that time the painting’s cost was 120 zekhin or half a kilo of gold in those days. So, it is sure that the painting once came to the court of August III of Poland and then went to the Walters and Bakers after several years.

What Made the Painting So Famous and Worthy of a Historic Search?

There are several reasons that play a role in the heightened interest in the painting. But one of the most discussed reasons is the rarity of the event when a common woman became the person of interest and was a subject of a painting.

Not only this, but this woman was chosen by Jean Etienne Lyotard. Historians and researchers interested in this matter shared that this particular painting also caught the eye of the succeeding painters for its depiction of the truth and originality.

From a chocolate peddler to a maid, and then a noblewoman, Anna’s story is one that should be shared and how one simple woman became the symbol of authenticity all across the USA.

About Jean Etienne Lyotard

About Jean Etienne Lyotard

Etienne Lyotard’s mastery over pastel paintings stems from his ability to produce absolutely stunning and fine miniature artworks. Unfortunately, he was rejected by the Academie Royale and moved to Italy, where he was able to secure several commissions and made a living.

More famous than his paintings here are the artworks that he produced in Turkey. He was a versatile painter and was very graceful in his work. Other than The Chocolate Girl, Lyotard is also known for his works like La Liseuse, La Belle Lyonnaise, and Maria Frederike.

Throughout his career as a painter, Lyotard’s portraits had a positive outlook and the subjects had a smiling face, which was something not seen regularly with this painting form.


There is a great history that follows this painting and how it came to be not to mention what is the story behind the girl. The level of detailing and exquisiteness depicted in the painting is extraordinary and savored by a lot of art enthusiasts. To view more such exquisite paintings, browse through and appreciate the ingenuity of the artist.