Dubreuil and Correa de Vivar : the Louvre preempts three paintings

28/09/10 – Acquisitions – Paris, Musée du Louvre – The fall season is starting out with a bang for the Louvre which, soon after the reopening at Drouot, preempted no less than three paintings at the auction organized by the Société Boisgirard on 24 September.

1. Toussaint Dubreuil (1561 ?-1602) and assistant
Leda and the Swan
Oil on canvas - 150 x 201 cm
Preempted by the Musée du Louvre the 24/9/10
Photo : Boisgirard

2. Toussaint Dubreuil (1561 ?-1602) and assistant
Angelica and Medoro
Oil on canvas - 143 x 199 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre

The first is a Leda and the Swan presented with an attribution to Toussaint Dubreuil (ill. 1) and correctly associated to the Angelica and Medoro at the Louvre (ill. 2) in the brief catalogue entry. The preemption can be easily understood : of almost identical size, this is in fact the corresponding pair for the one already in the museum. Both resided until 1951 in the home of Sir Bruce S. Ingram who donated the first to the Louvre while the second one went to Wildenstein’s in London. This canvas received a detailed publication by Dominique Cordellier in the entry on Angelica and Medoro for the exhibition De Nicolo dell’Abate à Nicolas Poussin : aux sources du classicisme 1550-1650 [1] (Meaux, Musée Bossuet , 1988-1989). However, it is not known if this pair was painted as easel canvases or if they are the remains of a décor. In the first case, according to Sylvie Béguin as quoted by Dominique Cordellier who also confirms this interpretation, they are allegorical representations of the passion of love. In the second instance (suggested by Bernard Dorival), the two scenes are connected to the story of Leda : Helen of Troy is thought to have been born from her union with the swan (Zeus in disguise as we all recall) ; from Helen the path leads naturally to Hector, one of Priam’s sons, whose descendants according to Ariosto included Roger, one of the heros of Orlando Furioso in which we also find the characters of Angelica and Medoro. Possibly, this décor presented a cycle on the Trojan war and another on Orlando Furioso. Although these are only theories, we are happy that the Louvre has managed, over fifty years after they were separated, to reunite the two paintings (for only 79.000 € before charges), undoubtedly executed by Toussaint Dubreuil, probably with the help of an assistant. We would like to point out that in recent years French museums, mainly the Louvre and Ecouen, have not passed up practically any chances of acquiring the few important French paintings of the second half of the 16th century which appear on the market [2].

3. Juan Correa de Vivar (c. 1510-1566)
Adoration of the Shepherd
Oil on panel - 145 x 117.5 cm
Preempted by the Musée du Louvre the 24/9/10
Photo : Boisgirard

4. Juan Correa de Vivar (c.1510-1566)
The Visitation
Oil on panel - 145 x 117.5 cm
Preempted by the Musée du Louvre the 24/9/10
Photo : Boisgirard

At this same auction, the Département des peintures also preempted a pair of panels by Juan Correa de Vivar, the first Spanish paintings to join the Louvre in a very long time [3]. Here to now missing from French public collections, Correa de Vivar, who was a student of Juan de Borgona, worked in Toledo where he died in 1566. His works reside mainly in the province of Toledo or at the Prado which owns no less than forty-one of them. According to the catalogue entry for the auction, the two works acquired by the Louvre date from the artist’s early career, in the years 1530-1540, and the Visitation can be associated with the one belonging to the museum in Madrid [4]. These are, according to Isabel Mateo Gomez of the Instituto Diego Velazquez [5], panels from a painted altarpiece in Salamanca which was to display also An Adoration of the Magi and an Annunciation. The influence of Raphael on Correa del Vivar, often mentioned, is visible here notably in the landscape of the Visitation. These two rather large panels acquired by the Louvre present a certain naiveté, characteristic of the Toledo style and which accounts for its charm. These works were auctioned off at 100,000 € (without charges).

Didier Rykner, mardi 28 septembre 2010


[1] p. 62-65. The Leda and the Swan is reproduced on p. 64.

[2] We remind our readers of the following acquisitions in the last ten years : the Louvre purchased The Flute Player by Jacob Bunel in 2001 ; the Amis du Louvre donated Theagenes Takes Up the Flame from the Hands of Chariclea by Ambroise Dubois in 2002 ; the purchase by the same museum of Vertumnus and Pomona of the second school of Fontainebleau and by Ecouen of a Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist by an anonymous artist of the 16th century (see news item of 2/6/07) ; the donation through “acceptance in lieu” of a Martin Fréminet (see news item of 1/4/08)… The Centre des Monuments Nationaux had also acquired, for Azay-le-Rideau, an interesting painting after Primatice (seenews item of 27/2/09).

[3] Except for the Beggar by Francesco Sasso (see news item of 16/1/06 in French)…

[4] Unfortunately, it is not reproduced on their website.

[5] Quoted in the auction catalogue.

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