An exhibition of engravings and drawings after a donation to Lyon

1. Joseph Ferdinand Lancrenon (1794-1874),
after Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson (1767-1825)
Hector’s Shadow Appears to Aeneas, 1825
Lyon, collection Patrice Béghain
Photo : Alain Basset / Lyon MBA

18/8/09 – Exhibition (and acquisitions) – Lyon, Musee des Beaux-Arts – To accompany the exhibition Madame Recamier, which we reviewed on this site (see article, in French), the Musee de Lyon had decided to show graphic works produced between 1790 and 1850. The project was put off for a time in order to include in the display engravings from the collection belonging to the former assistant for Cultural Affairs at City Hall in Lyon, Patrice Beghain. An authentic art lover and collector of Neo-classical engravings, he had in fact expressed the intention to make an important donation to the Musee des Beaux-Arts. Although officially announced, the actual manner and the exact content of the gift have not yet been finalized. The exhibition runs until 21 September 2009 in the same room, on the second floor, which recently presented Italian drawings (see article, in French). The understated staging, against a beautiful blue backdrop, is a fine way to discover the sheets from both the museum holdings as well the Patrice Beghain collection.

2. Jean Godefroy (1771-1839)
after François Gérard (1770-1837)
Daphne’s Dream, 1800
Lyon, collection Patrice Béghain
Photo : Alain Basset / Lyon MBA

Most of the engravings are works interpreting other paintings or drawings. Certain engravers specialized in this genre, such as Hyacinthe Aubry-Lecomte, who interpreted notably works by Girodet (several examples are on display, including a Self-portrait of Girodet). This artist was often “lithographed” by some of his students. There is, for instance, a very Flaxman-like composition by Joseph-Ferdinand Lancrenon (ill. 1). Pierre-Paul Prud’hon and Gerard also appear often in this exhibition along with, among other things, the almost-complete set of engravings executed for the 1800 edition of The Pastoral Loves of Daphne and Chloe (ill. 2).

3. Pierre Revoil (1776-1842)
Propertia with the Features of Mme de Sermezy
Sepia wash - 24.5 x 20 cm
Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Alain Basset / Lyon MBA

4. France, c. 1815
The Battle of Thermopylae
Brown ink, black chalk and white gouache highlights -
51.5 x 81.5 cm
Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Stéphane Paccoud

Among the drawings, there are several Prud’hon ; some sheets by the Lyon artists Pierre Revoil and Fleury-Richard, who have significant holdings at the Musee des Beaux-Arts, include persons close to Madame Recamier : Propertia with the Features of Madame de Sermezy by the first (ill. 3) and studies for the portrait of Queen Hortensia by the second. Specialists are sure to be intrigued by some anonymous unpublished works, particularly a large battle scene representing The Battle of Thermopylae (ill. 4), of extremely remarkable quality and for which it should be possible to identify the artist who no doubt had seen Gericault.

The only regret might be that there is no publication accompanying the hang. The French drawings will soon be treated in a catalogue but only those prior to the 19th century.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 18 août 2009

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