Latest acquisitions at the Musée Crozatier

27/5/11 – Acquisitions – Le-Puy-en-Velay, Musée Crozatier – Well known as a universal museum, the Musée Crozatier has enriched its collections over the past few years with silver or bronze pieces, sculptures and paintings by artists from the region or who worked there most of their lives.

1. Pierre Julien (1731–1804)
Bust of a Child as Hermes, 1796
Marble - 31 x 18 cm
Le Puy-en-Velay, Musée Crozatier
Photo : Musée Crozatier

2. Charles Maurin (1856-1914)
François-Rupert Carabin, sculptor, 1892
Oil on canvas - 45 x37 cm.
Le Puy-en-Velay, Musée Crozatier
Photo : Musée Crozatier

The first is the famous Pierre Julien from Saint-Paulien ; his Bust of a Child as Hermes (ill. 1), produced in 1796, is a welcome addition to the holdings as there were no marble works by the sculptor, only studies and either terracotta or plaster casts. The only known and signed portrait of a child by Julien, this bust is similar to the one sculpted by Jean-Baptiste Houdon in 1788 of his daughter Sabine (Metropolitan Museum in New York). It remained unsold at Sotheby’s Paris on 28 April 2009 (estimated at 12,000/18,000€) and was purchased after the auction with the help of the FRAM Auvergne and also the Conseil general de Haute-Loire. In 2004, the museum had organized, along with the Louvre, an exhibition (see article in French) featuring this artist who had captured in marble such personalities as Jean de la Fontaine and Nicolas Poussin.
The Portrait of Carabin by Maurin (ill. 2) was donated by the Carabin estate in 2005. It is of course a reminder of the friendship between the sculptor Rupert Carabin (1862-1932) and Charles Maurin, this « Symbolist of the real » highlighted in an exhibition in 2006 (see article about the catalogue) by the Musée Crozatier which holds an extensive collection of his drawings, engravings and paintings.

3. Charles Cottet (1863-1925)
In the Land of the Sea : Those who Are Leaving.
The Farewell Meal. The Women who Stay Behind
, 1898
Oil on cardboard - 48 x 144 cm
Le Puy-en-Velay, Musée Crozatier
Photo : Musée Crozatier

Enamoured of Brittany, Charles Cottet observed the difficult life of fishermen through the eyes of someone from Le Puy, in a famous triptych full of spiritualism entitled In the Land of the Sea : Those who Are Leaving. The Farewell Meal. The Women who Stay Behind, 1898, held at the Musée d’Orsay and for which Le Puy acquired the study on cardboard (ill. 3), also at Sotheby’s Paris, after the auction of 19 June 2007 (estimated at 8,000/12,000€), here also with the help of FRAM Auvergne and the Conseil general de Haute-Loire.

4. Charles Crozatier (1795-1855)
Basin with the family arms of
the Torlonias et Colonnas Doria, 1853
(attributed to Charles Crozatier)
Gilt Bronze - D. 68,5 cm.
Two ewers, signed and dated CROZATIER 1846
arms of the Torlonias and of Colonna Doria
Gilt Bronze - H. 33,5 cm.
Le Puy-en-Velay, Musée Crozatier
Photo : Musée Crozatier

We would also like to point out the purchase of three exceptional objects, perfect illustrations of 19th century eclecticism, strongly linked to the city through both the artist and the patron who commissioned them : two ewers (1853) and a basin (1846) (ill. 4) in gilt bronze displaying the family arms of the Torlonias and the Colonnas, all works by Charles Crozatier, for whom the museum already owns other bronzes. The Tourlonias family, who later Italianized their name into Torlonia, acquired their power and wealth in a very short span of time : originally from Augerolles in the Puy de Dôme, Marino Torlonia left for Rome where he started out as a valet de chamber and ended up as a banker at the Vatican. As for his grand-son Alessandro (1800-1886), he married Princess Teresa Colonna Doria. Acquired in 2008 at Sotheby’s for 73,668€, these three objects were funded by the Fonds national du Patrimoine (37,000€), the Fonds regional d’acquisition des musées with identical contributions from the DRAC Auvergne et la Région Auvergne (14,700€) and the Conseil général de la Haute Loire (14,700€). Visitors will be able to admire these treasures in 2014 when the museum, currently undergoing extensive renovation, reopens its doors to the public.

5. Camille Crouzet (1812–1881)
Le Puy, 1836
Marble - H. 69 cm
Le Puy-en-Velay, Musée Crozatier
Photo : Musée Crozatier

Apart from the above acquisitions, we are also pleased to mention the restitution of a work which had disappeared. The sculptor Camille Crouzet had paid tribute to his native city by representing it in marble with the features of a stately female head wearing a crown of laurels and battlement towers, showing the city arms (ill. 5) on the base. This Neo-Classical head reminiscent of Minerva was donated to Le Puy by the artist in 1839 and resided at city hall until the fire of 4 July 1964 ; it was then lost and later found by an Italian art dealer who returned it to the city and has joined the museum collections. Unfortunately, Crouzet is not a well-known artist and there is very little information available : he studied at the Ecole industrielle of Le Puy then at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris between 1835 and 1837.

Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, vendredi 27 mai 2011

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