A Nicolas Colombel work identified in Auxerre


30/6/10 – Discovery – Auxerre, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire – We had chosen an anonymous French painting representing Clytia to illustrate the article in the Debates section on the Auxerre museum, in the hopes that a learned reader might be able to identify it.
We didn’t have to wait long as a few hours later Guillaume Kazerouni contacted us saying that, in his opinion, this was an unpublished work by Nicolas Colombel.

1. Nicolas Colombel (1644 ? - 1717)
Clytia
Oil on canvas
Auxerre, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire
Photo : Didier Rykner

2. Nicolas Colombel (1644 ? - 1717)
Venus and Cupid with the Three Graces
Oil on canvas - 114 x 148 cm
Localisation unknown
Photo : Didier Rykner


Once the name was mentioned (but it didn’t happen by itself !), the attribution was evident. A simple comparison between this canvas and two details in Venus and Cupid with the Three Graces, sold at Sotheby’s London on 9/7/08 (ill. 2, 3 and 4) is enough to confirm it. The four protagonists in the scene are almost identical, as also with the figure of Clytia.

3. Nicolas Colombel (1644 ? - 1717)
Venus and Cupid with the Three Graces, (detail)
Oil on canvas - 114 x 148 cm
Localisation unknown
Photo : Didier Rykner

4. Nicolas Colombel (1644 ? - 1717)
Venus and Cupid with the Three Graces, (detail)
Oil on canvas - 114 x 148 cm
Localisation unknown
Photo : Didier Rykner


The very obvious similarities of the two paintings would indicate that they were produced at a close interval, around 1700. In November 2009, this painting, which in fact belongs to the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, was placed on exhibition on the first floor of the Musée Leblanc-Duvernoy. Although it is still on display, visitors would find it more convenient to see before 30th September as the museum closes only on Mondays and Tuesdays during the summer. Between 1st October and 30th April, it opens just on Saturdays and Sundays (and only between 10 and 12, then 14 and 17:30), remaining closed the rest of the week.


Didier Rykner, mercredi 30 juin 2010



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