Acquisitions for the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes


1. Lucien Jonas (1880-1947)
Ambruster, Study for the Cupola of the Museum
Charcoal and watercolor - 63 x 48.5 cm
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée de Valenciennes

30/06/10 – Acquisitions – Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts – Some museums, despite particularly low acquisition budgets, at times manage to make purchases or else receive donations, thus continuing to enrich their collections, albeit in a modest way.
We have not yet mentioned (except perhaps on one occasion) the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes in this respect. The following works (paintings, drawings and sculptures falling within The Art Tribune’s chronological field) joined the museum over the past few years.

In 2005, the institution received an important donation of 114 drawings and one oil on canvas by Lucien Jonas, from his son. We had mentioned the catalogue in an article in french reviewing several of the donated works. Below, we publish some of the sheets which, in the first half of the 20th century, continue the tradition of draughtsman-decorator of past eras. They are preparations for décors in Valenciennes some of which were destroyed during WWII : the ceiling of the theatre (1911, destroyed in 1940), a painting representing the Cavalcade of the Incas for the visitor’s room at the Lycée Wallon (1913, destroyed in 1944), the cupola of the Musée des Beaux-Arts (1922 ; ill. 1), the décors for the Hôtel Lefrancq (1922 ; ill. 2 and 3), those for the restaurant at the train station (1926, destroyed in 1944 ; ill. 4). There are also a few studies for a canvas representing The Artist’s Union in Valenciennes (destroyed).

2. Lucien Jonas (1880-1947)
Study for the Living Room of the Maison Lefranq
Charcoal, watercolor and gouache - 47.7 x 62.4 cm
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée de Valenciennes

3. Lucien Jonas (1880-1947)
Study (2nd idea) for the Living Room of the Maison Lefranq
Charcoal - 31.3 x 47.9 cm
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée de Valenciennes


Again, in 2005, a Watteau de Lille drawing, representing The Battle at the Pyramids (ill. 5), was acquired in the form of an anonymous donation. This is a preparatory study for a painting already held by the museum, dating from 1798-1799, and its pair, The Siege of Beauvais.


4. Lucien Jonas (1880-1947)
Study for the panel 7 of the Restaurant of the Train Station
Charcoal, watercolor and pastel - 47.7 x 63.5 cm
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée de Valenciennes

5. François-Louis-Joseph Watteau,
called Watteau de Lille (1758-1823)
The Battle at the Pyramids, 1798
Charcoal
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée de Valenciennes


In 2006, the museum purchased a painting by Jacob Esselens (ill. 6) on the Parisian art market [1]. The artist, whose artistic training is not clear, is known mainly for his seascapes. The work acquired by the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes is A Pause in the Hunt which rounds out the museum’s Dutch collections and also reveals a possible inspiration for the Fêtes galantes which abound in the museum.
Also in 2006, on 23 March at Christie’s Paris, the museum acquired a red chalk drawing by Van der Meulen, but we had already pointed it out at the time (see news item, in French, of 24/3/06).

6. Jacob Esselens (1626-1687)
A Pause in the Hunt
Oil on canvas - 63 x 87.5 cm
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : RMN



7. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875)
Brother and Sister, Two Orphans from the Siège
Terracotta - 24.5 x 7.9 x 8.8 cm
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée de Valenciennes

Finally, in 2008, a small terracotta (ill. 7) was added to the extensive Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux collection with a provenance from the sculptor’s workshop, purchased from the Talabardon et Gautier Gallery. It depicts a dramatic subject : following the Commune and its repression, Carpeaux returned from London to settle in Paris where he took in two children, a brother and sister, orphaned during the events. The work represents the girl carrying the little boy in her arms while extending her hand (now disappeared) to beg. This is an initial phase in the conception of a group for which the museum in Valenciennes already owned a plaster cast with a terracotta patine, donated by the artist’s widow in 1882 and which constitutes the second stage in the production. The final composition, with the girl’s hair floating on her shoulders, was reproduced many times both in marble and bronze, as well as in painting with a canvas from 1873 today at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tourcoing.


Didier Rykner, mercredi 30 juin 2010


Notes

[1] Chez Jean-Claude Serre



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