Acquisition of a Valentin de Boulogne by the Met

Valentin de Boulogne (1591-1632)
The Lute Player, around 1626
Oil on canvas - 130 x 98 cm
New York, Metropolitan Museum
Photo:Metropolitan Museum

3/12/08 — Acquisition — New York, Metropolitan Museum — The New York museum has enriched its collection with an important painting by Valentin de Boulogne representing a lute player (ill. 1). Although musicians form one of the most frequent subjects in Caravaggesque painting, this canvas is unique due to the compact focus of the scene. Jean-Pierre Cuzin and Arnaud Brejon de Lavergnée, who were the first to publish it in the catalogue for the Caravagesques Français in 1974, pointed out rightly that Caravaggesque artists generally represent figures half-length, not the case here.
The painting, which at the time was in a French collection (it was published again in 1989 by Marina Mojana as being in France [1]), comes possibly from Mazarin’s collection which listed a painting by Valentin with the same subject and same measurements in its inventory.

The United States did not hold many works by Valentin in 1982 when the exhibition on French seventeenth-century paintings from American collections [2] was organized. Since then, paintings by this artist have been acquired by some of the most important museums there, including Christ and the Adulteress by the Getty in 1983, The Cheats by the National Gallery in Washington in 1998 and A Musical Party by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art also in 1998. This Lute Player is the first Valentin de Boulogne to enter the Metropolitan collections.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mercredi 3 décembre 2008


[1] Marina Mojana, Valentin de Boulogne, Eikonos Edizioni, Milan, 1989, cat. 36.

[2] Pierre Rosenberg, French seventeenth-century paintings from American collections, 1982 (exhibition in Paris, from 29 January to 26 April 1982, then in New York and Chicago).

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