A Study by Jacques van Schuppen Acquired by the Musée Fabre in Montpellier

14/2/12 - Acquisition - Montpellier, Musée Fabre - The Musée has recently acquired, from F. Baulme Fine Arts in Paris, a study (ill. 1) of the reception piece for the Academy by Jacques (or Jacob) van Schuppen painted in 1704, Meleager Killing the Calydonian Boar (ill. 2).

1. Jacques van Schuppen (1670-1751)
Meleager Killing the Calydonian Boar, 1704
Oil on Canvas - 42 x 52 cm
Montpellier, Musée Fabre
Photo : F. Baulme Fine Arts

2. Jacques van Schuppen (1670-1751)
Meleager Killing the Calydonian Boar, 1704
Oil on Canvas - 162 x 228 cm
Montpellier, Musée Fabre
Photo : Musée Fabre

The son of the Antwerp engraver, Pierre van Schuppen (1627-1702) who settled in France around 1650, Jacques van Schuppen began his career in Paris before leaving his hometown for Vienna, Austria, where he became court painter to Prince Eugen and the Emperor Joseph I [1].
Another canvas with a similar composition resides in Brunswick. Of much larger size, it is more accomplished and presents more figures, implying that it may be a different version rather than a study for his reception piece [2].

The comparison between the study and the completed work is particularly interesting. First of all, the significantly lower number of figures in the first shows that this was probably a very early stage in the elaboration of the work, undoubtedly followed by several intermediate steps before its final execution. However, the most striking feature is the Flemish and Baroque style which is much stronger in the study than in the painting presented to the Academy. The latter clearly bears the mark of Le Brun, both in the colours and the composition. The study shows a violent quarry while the figures in the reception piece seem to be carrying out an elegant dance around the dying boar. Although he was born in Paris, van Schuppen obviously inherited a Rubens-like temperament from his father, other Northern European artists living in the French capital and even through his master Nicolas de Largillière. We now know that not much later, colour would triumph over design.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mercredi 15 février 2012


[1] See this work on Jacques van Schuppen : Pierre Schreiden, Jacques van Schuppen, 1670-1751 : L’influence française à Vienne dans les arts plastiques au cours de la première moitié du XVIIIe siècle, Brussels, 1976/1977, but we have not consulted it.

[2] This information was provided by the Musée Fabre website.

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