A Painting and Two Sculptures by Carpeaux Acquired by Valenciennes at the Fabius Auction


27/10/11 - Acquisitions- Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts - The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes purchased, without preemptions, three works by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux at the Fabius auction, thus consolidating its already extensive holdings of the artist.


1. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875)
Portrait of Doctor Batailhé, 1874 (?)
Oil on Canvas - 40 x 32 cm
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Sotheby’s

2. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875)
Portrait of Doctor Batailhé, c.1863/1864
Plaster - H. 46.5 cm
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : RMNGP/R. G. Ojéda/T. Le Mage


3. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875)
Entombment
Black Crayon - 18.5 x 12 cm
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Sotheby’s

The most important of these purchases is a painting (sold for 18,750€ with charges), the Portrait of Doctor Batailhé (ill. 1), the artist’s doctor, who cured him in 1855 of a serious eye infection. The work was probably painted in 1874 when Carpeaux, then ailing, called his friend to his bedside. Ironically, Doctor Batailhé died the following year, a few months before the sculptor. The painting went on to join the collection of the painter Bruno Chérier, a close friend of Carpeaux.

As pointed out by the catalogue from the Carpeaux retrospective staged in 1999/2000 in Valenciennes, at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris and at the Musée Van Gogh in Amsterdam, portraits form about one-third of the artist’s painted production. They were mostly likenesses of family members or intimates, which he did essentially for his own interest and which he did not bother to exhibit, much as in the case of his paintings.
This portrait will join the plaster cast of the original already at the museum and which was executed ten years or so earlier (ill. 2).


4. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875)
First draft of a Décor for the Façade
of the Hôtel de Ville of Valenciennes

Black Chalk - 12.5 x 23.5 cm
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Sotheby’s

5. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875)
First Draft of a Décor for the Façade
of the Hôtel de Ville of Valenciennes

Patinated Plaster - 76 x 91 cm
Nice, Musée Masséna
Photo : Giraudon


The other two purchases made by the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes are much more modest. One is a black crayon study for an Entombment (ill. 3), acquired for 875€, which the Sotheby’s catalogue presents as related to a terracotta study held at the Petit Palais in Paris ; the other, at 750€, is the first draft of a décor for the façade of the Hôtel de Ville (ill. 4) or City Hall in Valenciennes which the municipal council was thinking of entrusting to Carpeaux. His project was not selected after all. An original plaster cast is however visible at the Musée Massena in Nice (ill. 5).

Version française


Didier Rykner, jeudi 27 octobre 2011



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