Adrien Sacquespée (1629-1692)
Christ on the Cross, 1656
Oil on canvas - 83 x 49 cm
Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Christie’s
1/4/14 - Acquisition - Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts - This is the sort of pre-emption we like to hear about. The auction was a sale of old masters and 19th century works which took place today at Christie’s Paris and the acquirer was the Musée de Beaux-Arts of Rouen. We were indeed hoping it would happen since the work is particularly interesting for the museum and the history of Rouen painting, also because the price was very affordable (it sold for 14,000€ before charges). The painting represents a Crucifixion by Adrien Sacquespée, signed and dated 1656.
There are fewer than twenty known paintings by this artist who was born in Caudebec-en-Caux and studied at length by Eléonore Georges-Picot in the catalogue for the 1984 exhibition "La peinture d’inspiration religieuse à Rouen au temps de Pierre Corneille". His works can be found mainly in Normandy churches and at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen which held six before acquiring this Christ on the Cross. The work was not exactly unpublished as it was mentioned (but not reproduced) as a recent rediscovery from a private collection in the essay written by Diederik Backhuÿs on 17th century painting in Rouen for the catalogue accompanying the recent retrospective highlighting Nicolas Colombel.
This 1656 canvas, one of the first known ones by the artist , stands out in French art of the period. It recalls rather the first half of the century, more specifically the 1630’s, with a certain influence by Simon Vouet but in a more expressionist style. This would appear to indicate that Sacquespée’s manner lagged behind Parisian art. His later works, such as Saint Bruno Praying from 1671 or Chartreux Snowed In from 1670-1675 (both reside at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen) come closer to "Atticism parisien", therefore demonstrating here again a certain gap. This "provincial" character is not however, synonymous with mediocrity. The works in question, just like the large Martyrdom of Saint Adrian, also at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen, as well as the one which will now join the collections, qualify Adrien Sacquespée as an excellent painter.