A Drawing by Louis Nicolas Lemasle Acquired by St. Quentin

1. Louis-Nicolas Lemasle (1788-1876)
Nicolas Poussin Escorting Mgr Massimi to the Door
Pencil, pen, brown ink, sepia wash heightened with white - 17.5 x 13.1 cm
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer
Photo : Musée Antoine Lécuyer

21/12/13 - Acquisitions - Saint Quentin ; Musée Antoine Lécuyer and Madrid, Museo del Prado - While acquisition budgets for French museums have undergone drastic cuts, due notably to the budget policy at the Ministry of Culture, an interesting purchase was made just one year ago for a ridiculous amount although this is really a fine work.
The Musée Antoine Lécuyer in Saint Quentin bought a drawing presented as being anonymous (French from around 1820) but whose subject was identified accurately : Nicolas Poussin Escorting Monsignor Massimi to the Door, at Drouot (auctioneers Boisgirard & Associés) last 19 December 2012. This is a work by Louis Nicolas Lemasle, preparatory for a painting which today is lost but known thanks to the engraving purchased together with its companion piece (whereabouts also unknown) by Caroline Murat whose children took drawing lessons from the artist. As well as teaching at the drawing school, Lemasle also created the museum and was its first curator besides being Inspecteur des Monuments historiques as of 1835. We would like to again point out the volume recently published by Hervé Cabezas which is the first ever monograph on Lemasle [1].
The recent ownership history of the drawing, which belonged to Jean Louis Potier (see news item of 9/6/07), is interesting to look at. Since Potier failed to express his wish to bequeath his collection of Romantic and Neo-Classic works to the Musée Boucher de Perthes in Abbeville, after his death it reverted to his sister and brother-in-law, Georges Pébereau who in turn died in April 2012. A few dozen works belonging to Jean Louis Potier were sold at Drouot (anonymously) at the Boisgirard auction. No doubt the collector would have been happy to know that this drawing -which he had of course correctly identified since it is inscribed on the back by the painter - will join the Museum in Saint Quentin.

2. Juan Antonio de Ribera (1779-1860)
Cincinnatus Abandoning his Plough to Dictate the Laws of Rome
Brown ink, brown wash and heightened with white - 17 x 24 cm
Madrid, Museo del Prado
Photo : D. R.

In concluding, we would like to point out a drawing (ill. 2) with the same provenance, representing Cincinnatus Abandoning his Plough to Dictate the Laws of Rome which has been acknowledged as preparatory for the painting by Juan Antonio de Ribera, David’s Spanish student. It was acquired by the Prado Museum which already owned the final work, , a veritable manifesto of Spanish Neo-Classicism.

Version française

Didier Rykner, samedi 21 décembre 2013


[1] Hervé Cabezas with the help of Emilie Beck Saiello, Louis Nicolas Lemasle 1788-1876. Peintre du prince de Salerne. De l’atelier de David au musée de Saint Quentin, Edition Librairie des Musées, 2013, 240 p., 25€. ISBN : 978235404352.

imprimer Print this article

Previous article in News Items : The Trials and Tribulations of a Thuillier Landscape Recovered by Amiens

Next article in News Items : A Study by Delaunay Pre-Empted by the Château de Compiègne