Revue des Musees de France

Starting from proposed attributions, this study seeks to give a more accurate picture of Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio's production as a devotional painter and portraitist. The artist's popularity can be measured by the multiple orders received by his studio, but also by his many pupils, notably Domenico Puligo and Giovanbattista del Verrocchio. The art of these two artists is based on the studio's conservative foundations but shows a particular interest in contemporary anticlassical trends. The transition from the quattrocento tradition to mannerism can be seen in this hybrid profile.
The Musée Dobrée in Nantes has received from M. and Mme. Robert Seligman, as a bequest with a life interest, an ivory statuette representing the standing Virgin and Child. The piece shows slight traces of its original polychromy. The significance of the Virgin's robes and their colours can be explained: the blue lining of the mantle, evoking Mary's protection of mankind, has generally been attributed to her since the 12th-13 th centuries. The flower (honeysuckle, rose or hollyhock) is one of the flowers symbolising the Virgin. The semi-nudity of the Child Jesus is an affirmation of the Incarnation. The apple in the hands of the Child, a new Adam, is a token of salvation; the closed book represents the Old Testament. The accidents and modifications to which the ivory has been subjected (the presence of two cherubs' hands on the Virgin's crown, the saw marks on the back, the unusual little ruler carved on the back of the «plinth», the vestiges of a background panel) indicate that, originally, the piece - probably from a wall relief - represented the glorious Virgin crowned by angels and was later altered to form a single, isolated figure. The type of drapes worn by theVirgin, similar to the drapes in the Vierge de Gosnay by Jean Pépin de Huy (1329), along with the facial features, allow the piece to be compared with ivory statuettes and diptyches from the period 1320-1360, notably with the sheet of a diptych in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Sebastiano del Piombo, Resurrezione di Lazzaro, inv. NG 1, olio su tavola, trasferito su tela, 381 x 289,6 cm. National Gallery, Londra  
Cattedrale di Narbonne, veduta generale  
Cattedrale di Narbonne, deambulatorio del Coro, tomba del cardinal Guillaume Briçonnet  
Sebastiano del Piombo, Ritratto del cardinal Bandinello Sauli e tre personaggi, inv. 1961.9.37, olio su tavola trasportata su tela, 121,8 x 154,4 cm. National Gallery, Washington DC  
Francesco Primaticcio's drawing of The Virgin, Queen of the Angels, in the Louvre, was published for the first time by Sylvie Béguin, who compared it with an engraving by Diana Scultori - inspired by a now lost drawing by Giulio Romano -, and a panel by Marco d'Oggiono showing the three archangels (Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera). This painting explains the strange iconography of Primaticcio's drawing, because we know not only who commissioned the work and its original destination, but also its source of inspiration. It was taken from a theological work entitled Apocalypsis nova, which has been attributed to the Franciscan Amadeo Menez da Silva, who died in 1482, but was probably written some twenty years later by another Franciscan, Juraj Dragisic, known as Giorgio Benigno Salviati in Italy. This prophetic text puts great importance on the Madonna as well as the angels. Primaticcio's drawing, certainly inspired by a model drawn by Giulio Romano, follows the text closely, because it shows the Virgin at the top of a staircase, a feature absent in Diana Scultori's engraving and Marco d'Oggiono's painting, and because it emphasises St Michael's supremacy over the other two archangels.
The mysticism of Rhenish and Flemish origin, assimilated in Spain in the 16th century by the reformed Carmelite order (St Teresa d'Avila and St John of the Cross), became established as a model of spirituality for Spanish society under the reign of Philip III (1598-1621). Painters of the early Golden Age, such as Vicente Carducho, had to rise to the challenge of representing an experience that was by definition inexpressible using iconographic means, and without disposing of models or precedents judged appropriate by the Spanish clergy to express this new religious sensitivity. The preparatory bostezo realized for one of the fifty-six paintings by Vicente Carducho for the decoration of the cloister of the chartreuse of Santa Maria de El Paular and exhibited in the Louvre offers a representative example of the research undertaken by early 17th-century Madrid painters to translate mystical experience into imagery.
The Louvre possesses a small icon of the warrior saint, which had attracted little attention. It came to the museum from the Campana collection (1861 ). After restoration in the C2RMF workshop, it was recently put on display (2011) in the small room dedicated to Greek and Russian icons in the Denon wing. This remarkable piece joins a small series of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Cretan icons, showing a saint "on parade," riding a horse with one leg lifted. This article looks at the way tracings (anthivola) were used in the diffusion of this subject and shows that the Louvre icon is a valuable early example of this technique, which can be attributed to the circle, or even the hand, of Angelos Akotantos, a great Cretan painter in the first half of the fifteenth century.
St Barbara is the finest piece in the Henri Rachou (1856-1944) collection, bequeathed to the Musee Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi in 1969. Long rather mysterious, the statue has now recovered its iconographic and stylistic identity. Its recent restoration by Emilie Masse has brought to light much of its original polychromy. St Barbara comes from a German altarpiece, and the author has identified two other figures from the same altarpiece: a Virgin and Child in Zurich (Fondation-Collection E. G. Buhrle) and a St John the Evangelist in Munich (Bayerisches Nationalmuseum). The style of these works is specific to Swabian sculpture in the 1460s and 1470s, which was strongly influenced by the art of Hans Multscher (Reichenhofen, ca. 1400-Ulm, early 1467). Through comparison with sculptures from the altarpiece (1463) in the St Mang basilica in Fussen in Allgau, St Barbara can be attributed to a workshop active in Ulm, the main art centre in Swabia in the late Middle Ages.
Six panels from altarpieces, now in museums in Mulhouse, Dijon and Basel, and in the Rheinfelden town hall, Switzerland, all have characteristics in common. They were almost certainly part of the same altarpiece commissioned by Johann Lösel, one of the most powerful members of the Knights Hospitallers in the mid-15th century, who is depicted at the foot of the Virgin in one of the scenes. Commander of Basel and Rheinfelden, he may well have commissioned this polyptych for one of the chapels in these commanderies, in all likelihood the church of the Johannites, in Basel, the hypothesis retained here. The panel in the Basel museum, which has a different format, may either have belonged to this group or to another altarpiece by the same painter. The latter, called the Master of the Lösel Altarpiece here, was very probably also the painter of the cartoons for the stained-glass windows in the churches of Saint-Dominique de Vieux-Thann, in Alsace, and Notre-Dame-de-la-Visitation, in Bourguillon, Switzerland.
"Painter to the King", painter of miniatures and flowers, engraver, designer of ornamental patterns, painter on fabric and marble, bronzeworker and gilder of statues at Versailles, Jacques Bailly is today renowned for the manuscripts he lavishly illuminated for Louis XIV. Devises pour les Tapisseries du Roi; Carrousel'(1662); Labyrinthe de Versailles and Médailles de Louis Ware masterpieces of this art, acknowledged and much appreciated by the sovereign, and kept in his Cabinet of Curiosities. © 2019 Editions de la Reunion des Musees Nationaux. All rights reserved.
Until now. no exhaustive study has been made of the collection of enamelled miniatures in the Louvre's Department of Prints and Drawings. Built up from 1786 onwards, following an acquistion made by the Crown at the request of the Comte d'Angiviller, director of the King's Buildings, and then a series of generous donations, this collection is the only one of its kind in the world. The in-depth study of these miniatures adorned with portraits painted in gold on enamel provides an opportunity, in this first part, to identify several of the models and to single out the works of those painters who. from the 1630s onwards, lent prestige to this refined art, Jean I Toutin (1578-1644) and Jean I Petitot (1607-91). © 2018 Editions de la Reunion des Musees Nationaux. All rights reserved.
In 1886, Baron Hector Garriod (1803-1883) bequeathed two hundred and forty four paintings - mostly Italian - to the Musée de Chambéry. These included a Virgin with Child and St John the Baptist traditionally attributed to the studio of Carlo Maratta (1625-1713). In fact, this work is by the French painter and Academician Michel II Corneille (1642-1708). Indeed, there is a similar version to the Musée de Chambéry painting in the collections of Angers Musée des Beaux-Arts. Furthermore, there exist a print by Louis Cossin reproducing a virtually identical composition to Corneille's work, and a preparatory drawing of the Virgin's face in the Cabinet des Arts Graphiques at the Louvre. Although examples of Michel II Corneille's graphic work are particularly widespread, this is not the case in the category of easel paintings of which there are extremely few in French public collections, hence the importance of the newly identified canvas at the Musée de Chambéry.
The study of Chinese cloisonné enamels is a relatively recent field in art history, both in China and the West. As far as China is concerned, the reasons for this are partly because of their garish, ostentatious aspect, disliked by the Literati, and partly because of their origin, related to foreign presence in the country. Added to this lack of scientific information was the fact that this art was only discovered in the West following the looting that took place in China in 1860 and 1900. Although this is not the case of most of the Musée Guimet's collection of cloisonné enamels, little research has been undertaken and, for many years, few pieces ever left the storerooms. A new display today presents a large incense burner crafted using this technique, the study of which has revealed the quite exceptional character of this artefact from both an artistic and historical standpoint. © 2019 Editions de la Reunion des Musees Nationaux. All rights reserved.
Two works, The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple and The Dormit ion of the Virgin Mary, held in the Thomas Henry museum in Cherbourg under the name of Charles de La Fosse since 1835, are in fact typical of Claude-Guy Halle's early manner. The Pilgrims at Emmaus, held in the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Nantes since 1874 but listed as anonymous, is another work from this same phase in the artist's career; it is very probably the altarpiece commissioned by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, in Paris, about 1685. The same museum owns another youthful work by Qaude-Guy Hallé, The Sacrifice oflphigenia, which has been attributed to various artists since 1810. Although most of the paintings exhibited by Claude-Guy Hallé at the Salon de l'Académie royale in 1704 have disappeared, the painting of Christ at the House of Martha and Mary was identified in a recent art sale. The painting of Eliezer and Rebecca in the Musée de Chaumont under the name of Bon Boullogne is very likely to be a version of the painting on the same subject exhibited in 1704. The identification of three drawings in the Louvre, including a preparatory study for the altarpiece painted for the church of Saint Sulpice, along with a small sketch on a mythological subject at the Musée Magnin, in Dijon, is the final step in the reconstruction of Claude-Guy Hallé's œuvre.
Gian Girolamo Bonesi was one of the minor masters in Bologna in the eighteenth century rediscovered through recent studies by Angelo Mazza and Daniele Benati. He was a pupil of Giovanni Maria Viani and Carlo Cignani, and a member of the Accademia Clementina. He belonged to the classicist stream of the Bolognese school, which, under the influence of Guido Reni and his followers, sought to preserve the distinctive character of the local art tradition. His painting is delicate and compact, showing a cult for drawing and a feeling for light acquired through contact with another famous Bolognese painter in the eighteenth century, Marcantonio Franceschini. His biographers claim that Bonesi was a figure painter, executing scenes drawn from sacred and secular history for a clientele that was mainly local but extended to other parts of Italy and Europe. He was also a portraitist. The sheet in the Graphic Arts Department of the Louvre, traditionally given to Francesco Monti, is published here with a new attribution to Gian Girolamo Bonesi; it has been compared with one of his paintings for the charterhouse of San Girolamo in Bologna, where it is still held today.
The gold casket previously associated with Anne of Austria, who was queen and then regent of France (1601-1666), has long been considered one of the masterpieces of the Objets d'art collection. It is also one of the key pieces in what remains of the old royal collections. It can be traced in the royal inventories from 1718, and was in the Tuileries palace until 1833. It then entered the collections of the Musée des Souverains, recorded in the inventory as the "jewel casket of Queen Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII." This hypothetical provenance remains unverified, while the style of the openwork gold decoration suggests a much later date. The recent discovery of previously unknown records shows that the casket was delivered to Louis XIV in spring 1676 "to hold all the parures," referring to the jewellery adorning the king's court costumes. The great gold merchant Jean Pitan was paid for the casket, which had been made by an obscure Protestant goldsmith called Jakob Blanck. As a result of this discovery, the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France carried out an in-depth technical and scientific study of the casket in spring 2013, which confirms and clarifies the historical documentation, and further demonstrates the virtuosity of Parisian goldsmiths in the seventeenth century.
A rare artefact, listed as a National Treasure by the Ministry of Culture in 2016, entered the collections of the Château de Versailles in early 2018, thanks to the patronage of LVMH. It is a gilded silver jug that was given to Louis XIV by the Siamese ambassadors when they visited Versailles on 1 September 1686. From a historical point of view, this unique piece of silverware is of great significance. It alone bears witness to one of the most sumptuous episodes in the flurry of diplomatic activity that occurred at Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV It was a gift from King Narai of Siam (1633-88), or his prime counsellor, Constantine Phaulkon (1647-88), and is the only piece of silverware known to have been given to Louis XIV among the countless presents he received on this occasion. First listed on the Royal Furniture Depository's inventory in 1697, then included several times in the course of the 18th century, it somehow avoided being melted down with other items of royal silverware during the Revolution, and was sold under the Directory. It had remained in a French private collection since the early 19th century. © 2019 Editions de la Reunion des Musees Nationaux. All rights reserved.
Among the wedding-themed jewellery in fashion throughout the 16th century, a small number of ronde-bosse enamel Cupids drawing a Bow stand out owing to their preciousness, the finesse of their execution and their great resemblance. One may thus put together a corpus of nine very similar pendants, which illustrate both the enormous popularity of these pieces of jewellery and their quasi "mass-production" in certain workshops. Archival sources and painted portraits enable us to establish the period 1580-1610 as the height of this fashion, although this type of jewellery continued to be worn afterwards: in countries like Hungary, where fashions came and went more slowly than in major European cities, Cupid pendants remained in favour all through the 17th century. Determining their provenance is more problematic, since goldsmiths and their creations frequently circulated. However, these pieces are thought to have come from northern Europe: Germany or the Netherlands. © 2018 Editions de la Reunion des Musees Nationaux. All rights reserved.
In 2009, the Victor Schœlcher Museum in Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe) acquired a remarkable pastel representing four young Creole women and painted in Guadeloupe in 1770 by Joseph Savart according to the inscription at the bottom of the work. Artistic productions from this period are extremely rare in the French West Indies and to this day there is no other known work by this «master painter» from Reims who was active in Guadeloupe and Martinique and died in 1801 during the revolutionary upheavals. The present study offers an historical and sociological interpretation of the pastel, underlining its singularity in comparison with genre scenes by other painters, such as Brunias or Le Masurier, active in the French West Indies during the same period. The four elegant women - portrayed in intimate rapport and whose skin complexions represent an entire palette of mixed blood - belong to the class of free coloured people. Behind the pleasant genre scene the artist, who in 1792 sided with the revolutionaries, seems to be expressing, in the heyday of slavery in the colony, a republican manifesto for the union of coloured people and equality for all.
The Musk d'Art et d'Archeologie of Chalon-sur-Saone, installed in the renovated buildings of a free drawing school, opened its doors in 1866. In 1895, it took the name of Vivant Denon (Chalon-sur-Saone 1747-Paris 1825), as a tribute to the first director of the Musk du Louvre. When the management of the two museums was combined in 2000, a project to reorganise the Musee Denon, in line with the scientific and cultural project for the Musee de la photographie Nicephore Niepce, was based on a policy of preservation, acquisition, exhibition and research. In practice : a preventive preservation plan and multi-year campaigns to restore the collections; a program of temporary exhibitions; and the creation of a graphic arts unit centred on Vivant Denon. An active acquisitions policy has built up a collection of about six hundred items which enlighten the public about the personality and work of the illustrious Chalonnais.
From 1813, the painter Alexis-Nicolas Pérignon worked as an art expert and drew up catalogues for major auctions, such as those of Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson (1825 and 1826) or Dominique-Vivant Denon (1826). He was also an auctioneer with the royal museums until his resignation in 1835. He claimed that this resignation had an impact on his career as a painter and so he exhibited at the Salon under two pseudonyms, in 1837 and 1838, before resuming his own name. Suffering from a cruel illness which "nailed him to his easel", he continued to work as a dealer or intermediary in major transactions. In 1853, he approached Napoleon III to advise the purchase of four tapestry cartoons by "Jules Romain." Pérignon also collected drawings and the discovery of sheets by Saint-Aubin, Ingres and Géricault when his collections were dispersed reinforced his image as a "reputed judge" of art.
The Musk des Arts decoratifs in Paris has a set of seven large panels of unusual size and quality, drawn and painted in watercolours by Charles De Wailly in 1787. These drawings decorated the walls of the dressing room used by a very famous actress, Louise Contat, who created the role of Suzanne in Beaumarchais' Marriage of Figaro, at the Comedie-Francaise. Inspired particularly by the decoration of Marie-Antoinette's boudoir in Fontainebleau, only just finished at the time, these panels are not only a first-rate achievement in the history of the decorative arts, but also a magnificent contribution to the history of the theatre because each one celebrates an author of classical comedy in vogue at the time : Dufresny, Regnard, Piron, Gresset, La Chaussee, Destouches, gathered around the tutelary figure of Moliere.
A reputed entrepreneur under the July Monarchy, Antoine Vivenel was also renowned for having assembled one of the largest collections of antiquities in France, now in the Musée d'Art et d'Archéologie, Compiègne, the museum that he founded. In the course of drawing up the first catalogue ever to be made of the Etruscan and Italic objects in the Musée Antoine Vivenel, archival research enabled us to reconstruct the history of this collection, from the archaeological sites where the objects were discovered to the successive collections to which they belonged, before they were dispersed. This paper proposes to illustrate the craze for antiquities that swept through Paris during the first half of the 19th century, when wealthy collectors rubbed shoulders with scholars, scientists and art dealers of the day.
Six Italian still lifes in French public collections - in museums in Ajaccio, Caen, Dijon, Dieppe, La Fere -, had hitherto been vaguely or mistakenly attributed or listed as anonymous. Belonging to the Neapolitan and Roman school, these still lifes all depict bunches of flowers, fruit, fish and seafood and are distinguished by their fine execution. We propose to give them to Abraham Brueghel, Nicola Casissa, Giovanni Battista Ruoppolo, Giovanni Stanchi and Laura Bernasconi.
In the course of the political upheaval that sent shockwaves through Naples in the late 18th century, its artistic heritage passed from hand to hand. Its fate was sealed by the Treaty of Florence, signed after the city was taken by Napoleon Bonaparte in February 1801. Several Antique statues were sent back to France, including the Albani marbles, the Velletri Pallas and the Medici Itenivs.The works confiscated from the Piranesi brothers, allies of the French, were returned to them. Lastly, a collection of Antiques from Pompeii and Herculaneum were given by Ferdinand IV of Naples, King of the Two Sicilies, to the First Consul, and sent to the chateau of Malmaison. © 2018 Editions de la Reunion des Musees Nationaux. All rights reserved.
In 1883, the Musée Antoine-Lécuyer received a bequest of four sketches by Thomas Jones Barker (1813-82), an English painter born in Bath, who lived in Paris during the July Monarchy, from the mid-1830s to the mid-1840s. The artist seems to have invented both an illustrious reputation for himself in France and a close relationship to the royal family, which were repeatedly mentioned by his future biographers. Taking advantage of Louis-Philippe's love of English and interest in Louis XIV's personality, in 1839 Jones Barker painted La Mort de Louis XIVau palais de Versailles (Death of Louis XIV at the Palace of Versailles)for the Musée du Château de Versailles. Offered as a gift to the king, this painting was destroyed in the fire at the Palais Royal in 1848. The sketch now in the Musée de Saint-Quentin is the only surviving trace of the work.
In June 2010, the Musée d'Art Roger-Quillot [MARQ] in Clermont-Ferrand acquired an album of seventy-two drawings by Etienne-Jean Delécluze (1781-1863) at a public auction. This unpublished album of views of the Auvergne-which had remained the property of the artist's descendents until then-sheds new light on artistic travels in the region as well as on Delécluze's creative personality: although he is well known as a staunch defender of Davidian neoclassical tradition, these sheets-imbued with romantic sensitivity-reveal a new facet of his artistic temperament. Moreover, the drawings, which are accompanied by a booklet of corresponding explanatory notes, attest to a genuine scientific preoccupation on the part of Delécluze who displays remarkable knowledge in the fields of geology and geography. Finally, the article raises the questions of the context in which the album was executed and its intended destination.
The "Voyage en Auvergne" by Etienne-jean Delecluze: an album of seventy-two unpublished drawings (1821) In June 2010, the Musee d'Art Roger-Quillot [MARQ] in Clermont-Ferrand acquired an album of seventy-two drawings by Etienne-Jean Delecluze (1781-1863) at a public auction. This unpublished album of views of the Auvergne-which had remained the property of the artist's descendents until then-sheds new light on artistic travels in the region as well as on Delecluze's creative personality: although he is well known as a staunch defender of Davidian neoclassical tradition, these sheets-imbued with romantic sensitivity-reveal a new facet of his artistic temperament. Moreover, the drawings, which are accompanied by a booklet of corresponding explanatory notes, attest to a genuine scientific preoccupation on the part of Delecluze who displays remarkable knowledge in the fields of geology and geography. Finally, the article raises the questions of the context in which the album was executed and its intended destination.
The earliest depictions of Buddhist monuments in the region of Taxila (present-day Pakistan) were produced by Imam Bakhsh, a painter from Lahore wtio worked for General Claude-Auguste Court (1793-1880), a former officer of Napoleon, who, in 1826, left to enter the service of Maharajah Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), rising power and ruler of Punjab, the region wedged between Afghanistan and the East India Company. These watercolours came with Court's Memoirs, now in the Musee national des Arts asiatiques-Guimet, Paris, and show the Manikiala and Bhallar (aka Phaller) stupas, which are still present on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Taxila. The paintings, which coincided with the infancy of archaeology in northwestern India, mixed Mughal traditions and Western influence with Imam 8akhsh's own artistic vision. This can also be seen in his illustrations for La Fontaine's fables, on view at the Mus6e Jean de La Fontaine, Chateau-Thierry. The miniatures decorating Court's Memoirs bear lively witness to the Kingdom of Lahore, where Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims mingled socially in the time of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, who called upon French expertise to modernise his army. © 2018 Editions de la Reunion des Musees Nationaux. All rights reserved.
The Musée Historique de Versailles, an 1833 project of Louis-Philippe's inaugurated in 1837, devoted a major place to the French nation's past, particularly to works from the Napoleonic era executed between 1798 and 1814, and to Napoleonic subjects illustrating the most notable events of the period ordered by the king in the 1830s. The display of these works in the new museum was accompanied by numerous restorations between 1833 and 1868. The material history of the collections during this period is both a reflection of theoretical and technical progress in the field of restoration and an illustration of the specific nature of the work carried out: whether on the layers of paint, the support, changes in format, simple cleaning or irreversible alteration. It opens up new avenues of research on restorers and their techniques, not only for a fuller understanding of the works themselves but also in order to shed light on the role of the restorers who have often been eclipsed by the official painters. The period marked a turning point in the field of restoration as the restorers were also leading theoreticians who played an active role in the evolution of their art. Most of these canvases are in the collections of the Musée du Oiâteau de Versailles and this has enabled researchers to study them regularly firom a theoretical and material point of view, as has been demonstrated by the important research work recently carried out on the evolution of restoration techniques in the 19 th century.
Edme Antoine Durand (1768-1835) died in Florence, on his way back from a trip to Italy to enrich his collection of antiquities. His wish that it would join another of his collections, sold to the Royal Museum in 1825, was not fulfilled: the last Durand collection was dispersed at an historic public auction in 1836. The programmatic nature of the purchases made by the Musée de Sèvres on this occasion and their almost immediate study by Alexandre Brongniart (1770-1847) provide special insight into the technical side of his project for the museum.
The first phase of the research project entitled Commission de Topographie des Gaules (1858-79), launched in 2013 on the initiative of Christian Landes (Centre des Monuments nationaux) and funded by Labex Les passés dans le présent, was completed in 2017. It sheds fresh light on how the collections of France's Musée d'Archéologie nationale have been assembled, underscoring the important role played by the Commission de Topographie des Gaules. In its twenty years of existence, this committee, established by Napoleon III, wove a vast network of eminent specialists across the country and laid the foundations for archaeological science. © 2019 Editions de la Reunion des Musees Nationaux. All rights reserved.
In 1873, for the first time in its history, the Louvre added to its collections three landscapes by John Constable, the leading proponent of modern English painting: Weymouth Bay, The Cottage (now attributed to Frederick Waters Watts) and The Rainbow (anonymous, after Constable). The Cottage had been bought by the Louvre at the auction of the "Marquis de la Rocheb..." held in Paris that year, while Weymouth Bay, also in the auction, and The Rainbow were given to the Louvre by John W. Wilson, an industrialist of English descent, born in Brussels. In the light of Constable's influence on the rise of landscape painting in France in the 19th century, these acquisitions were clearly an event in the history of art and in the history of taste in this period. But behind the scenes, a whole network of art dealers and collectors was at work creating a market favourable to English painting. This study pinpoints the role and ambitions of Leon Gauchez, a Belgian art dealer and critic, who was involved in the art market at the time under various pseudonyms (Paul Leroi, Henri Perier, Leon Mancino, etc.) and was certainly the central figure in the sequence of events behind the organization of this auction and Wilson's donation.
A series of investigations has enabled us to discover the origin and history of a mysterious ceremonial item in solid silver, acquired by the Musée du Nouveau Monde, La Rochelle, in 2015. Its strange form, resembling a kind of sceptre, does not meet the criteria traditionally applied to silverwork, yet the presence of hallmarks reveals that it was made by a silversmith from La Rochelle. The inscription identified on this piece provided several clues as to the name of the person to whom it was dedicated, his position and the place in which he exercised this role. He was, in fact, a person of note in the kingdom of Loango, in charge of the slave trade in the late 18th century, and more specifically in charge of dealings with the captains of European slave ships. To gain the favour of such important local middlemen, it was commonplace among foreign shipowners to shower lavish gifts upon them, i.e. "bribes" to facilitate business related to the exchange of captives. This valuable object, which bears witness to La Rochelle's involvement in the slave trade, illustrates the lure of wealth and profit to be made out of this trade among potentates on the West African coast. It also informs us about the complex workings of the slave trade and about the practices observed in order to dominate the slave market, given the fierce competition facing French ports at this time.
Between 1896 and 1905. the Parisian goldsmith Cardeilhac made mounts for ivory boxes and ornamental vases by Bru6re, Dammouse. Oelaherche and Gall6. The fruit of a collaboration between a goldsmith and his designer. Lucien Bonvallet, they bear witness to the fine workmanship of late-19th-century craftsmen. The chronological, technical and stylistic study of these creations was based partly on the collection of Cardeilhac drawings owned by the company Christofle and partly on the goldsmith's works found in other French and European collections. © 2018 Editions de la Reunion des Musees Nationaux. All rights reserved.
The restoration of the model of The History of French Art in the Petit Palais sheds new light on the preparation of the decoration that Maurice Denis painted for the Musée des Beaux-arts de la Ville de Paris, just after the First World War. The model was made in 1921 after the rejection of an initial project evoking France's Victory. Denis finally proposed a huge retrospective panorama of the French arts, in phase with post-war nationalist fervour. Reviving the tradition of artistic pantheons, Denis decorated the intrados of the Dutuit cupola with an anthology of artists and masterpieces forming an unbroken chain of "French genius" from the time of the cathedrals to Impressionism. This study of the model and the preparatory drawings for the decoration explores the artist's theoretical and aesthetic choices.
Victor Hugo's drawings were the inspiration for a major series of paintings on paper by the contemporary Austrian artist Arnulf Rainer. Nine of these works are in the collections in Victor Hugo's House. They are paintings on photographs of Victor Hugo's drawings, a process that Rainer has been using since the 1970s, literally painting over the work of other artists. The "Hugo" series is characterised by Rainer's empathy with Hugo's art, following its rhythms and imagery in a game of one-upmanship, playing on the borderline between figuration and abstraction and using colour to accentuate the rhythm.
Numerous works from the collection brought back by Henri Cernuschi from his travels in Asia between 1871 and 1873 were the object of so-called "industrial copies" in the fields of metallic and ceramic arts in France. The present study analyses the reasons why copying developed into a systematic practise in the 19th century, the theoretical bases for such imitations, and why exoticism was one of its principal targets. The practise implied a new role for artists in the luxury goods industries on the basis of redefined notions of art and luxury and their reciprocal relationship.
How and why can contemporary objects - which are often handcrafted in perishable materials since they are meant to be short-lived - be added to a folk museum collection in a logical and selective manner? Can items left over from festive events convey joy, energy or effrontery? To which "intangible cultural heritage" do they attest, given that traditions are by and large reinvented? The survey-cum-collection entitled "Carnivals and Masquerades", carried out between 2009 and 2014 by the MuCEM, sought the answers to these questions. From masks to parade floats, the new acquisitions are intended to reflect contemporary carnival and related masquerading practices.
In 2015, the commode made by Ferdinand Schwerdfeger in 1788 for Marie-Antoinette's bedchamber at the Petit Trianon, was found anew at the Kuskovo Museum, Russia. Its mahogany decoration sets off the exceptional bronzes featuring wickerwork and plant motifs, matching the wood carvings on the "wheat-ear" furniture in the queen's bedchamber. The companion piece to the commode was a console table, purchased in 1976 by the Cháteau de Versailles. In 1793, when royal furniture was being dispersed and auctioned off after the Revolution, the commode was purchased by the antiques dealer Rocheux on behalf of Jean-Henri Eberts, a banker and picture dealer. In 1794, the latter obtained a licence to export the commode to Hamburg. All trace of it was then lost until 1932, when it was discovered at the Kuskovo Museum, where its provenance was unknown. Two hypotheses were then formulated, leading us towards the collections of the families of prominent industrial entrepreneurs, namely those of Alexei Morozov (1857-1934) or Dimitri Shchukin (1855-1932). © 2019 Editions de la Reunion des Musees Nationaux. All rights reserved.
Received by the museum in 2015 under the acceptance in lieu scheme, Edouard Vuillard's youthful work Autoportrait octogonal (Octogonal Self-Portrait)marked a turning point in the artist's career. In 1889, after a classical training at the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-arts, Vuillard joined a small group of artists known as the "Nabis" (nabisbeing the Hebrew word for prophets). Sharing the same aesthetic concerns, the members of this group-which included Paul Sérusier, Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Paul-Élie Ranson and Henri-Gabriel Ibels, then Vuillard and Ker Xavier Roussel, and finally Aristide Maillol and Félix Vallotton-produced works with a new spiritual dimension, freed of the conventions of realistic and descriptive art. Focusing on the plasticity of elements in their painting, these artists were part of a Symbolist trend that sought to "clothe the Ideal in a perceptible form", in line with Jean Moréas' Symbolist Manifesto. With a boldness seldom equalled and pictorial means reduced to a minimum, the Octogonal Self-Portrait embodies the Nabi concept of a work of art as a subjective transposition of reality.
In the Mus6e des Beaux-arts, Marseille, the Landscape until now attributed to Nicolas Mignard represents a view identical to the one in which Nicolas Poussin placed his Saint Paul the Hermit in the painting at the Museo del Prado. The latter work, Paysage avec saint Paul ermite (Landscape with Saint Paul the Hermit), was part of a celebrated commission for twenty-four paintings depicting hermits made in 1634-35 in Rome on behalf of Philip IV of Spain for the Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid. Comparison of a detail in the vegetation seems, however, to suggest that the Marseille painting was an earlier work than the one in Madrid, which is consistent with the dates of Mignard's stay in Rome. Nevertheless, the fact that three major landscapists - Poussin, Claude and Dughet - all resided in Rome in the first half of the 1630s suggested several candidates for the attribution of the Marseille work were possible. This thus deserved investigating, but stylistic observation alone and the similarity between the work being studied and Mignard's Saint Bruno at the Mus6e Calvet, Avignon, enabled us to maintain the initial attribution. © 2018 Editions de la Reunion des Musees Nationaux. All rights reserved.
Top-cited authors
Alain Turq
Jean-Loïc Le Quellec
  • French National Centre for Scientific Research
Dorian Vanhulle
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles