Latest acquisitions of the Musée de la Vie Romantique


1. Ary Scheffer (1795-1858)
Portrait of the queen Marie-Amélie
in mourning
, 1857
Oil on canvas - 120 x 98 cm
Paris, Musée de la
Vie Romantique
Photo : Musée de la
Vie Romantique

3/12/09 – Acquisitions – Paris, Musée de la Vie Romantique – As active as ever, the Musée de la Vie Romantique generally acquires one important work a year. It also receives donations and the current year has seen particularly generous and interesting ones join its collections.

The most important painting, by Ary Scheffer, is well known by regular visitors to the establishment at 16, rue Chaptal as it has been on loan there since 2000 thanks to the heirs of Prince Sébastien Lubomirsky. This is a second version, unfinished, of a portrait of the former French queen which Scheffer painted in 1857 in England where she lived in exile. Marie-Amélie is clothed in mourning for Louis-Philippe who had passed away seven years earlier. Ary Scheffer never completed the work (the first version, slightly bigger, is held at Chantilly [1] ) and died the following year from a heart attack shortly after returning from his stay in Great Britain. The painting, donated by Marie-Amélie to her youngest son, the Duke of Montpensier, had remained in the hands of his heirs.
The acquisition of this beautiful portrait made the copy held at the Musée de la Vie Romantique redundant. The latter was probably executed after Scheffer’s death by one of his students and had been purchased on 14 December 1996 at the Sotheby’s Monaco auction of the estate of the Count and Countess of Paris from their residence at Quinta do Anjinho in Sintra. In a wise move, this copy has been placed on deposit at the Musée Louis-Philippe in Eu.

2. Charles-Octave Blanchard (1814-1842)
Portrait of Charles Gounod, 1841
Oil on canvas - 29 x 22.5 cm
Paris, Musée de la Vie Romantique
Photo : Musée de la Vie Romantique

3. Charles-Octave Blanchard (1814-1842)
Self-portrait, 1841
Oil on canvas - 29 x 22.5 cm
Paris, Musée de la Vie Romantique
Photo : Musée de la Vie Romantique


The Société des Amis du Musée has purchased a pair of paintings by Charles-Octave Blanchard. Before dying at a precocious age in 1842, the artist, a student of Léon Cogniet, had won second place in the Premier Grand Prix de Rome of 1836 which allowed him nevertheless to go to the Villa Médicis as no one had won the year before. The two matching works represent respectively Charles Gounod and Octave Blanchard himself. Gounod, who took first place in the Premier Grand Prix for musical composition in 1839 met Blanchard in Rome. It was customary for residents at the Villa Medicis to do portraits of their fellow artists and many of these figures are still held there today. These two portraits, set in Rome and dating from 1841, were painted shortly before the artist returned and died in Paris. He dedicated them to the architect Hector Lefuel, also Grand Prix de Rome in 1839 and a friend of both the artist and the musician. They had been held until recently by Lefuel’s heirs and were presented at the last Maastricht Art Fair where the Amis du Musée purchased them from the Munich gallery Daxer & Marschall.

4. Camille Roqueplan (1803-1855)
Old mortality
Oil on canvas - 81.3 x 65 cm
Paris, Musée de la Vie Romantique
Photo : Musée de la Vie Romantique



The Chantal Kiener gTales of my Landlordallery donated a painting by Camille Roqueplan representing Old Mortality after Walter Scott’s novel or after Vincenzo Bellini who based his opera on the book in 1835 (ill. 4). This canvas joins the other minor Romantic masters surrounding Scheffer in the museum collections and which the Société des Amis had added to already in 2007 and 2008 by donating two works. The first, painted by Charles Durupt [2] represents Manfred and the Spirit after Lord Byron (ill. 5) in a scene where the seventh spirit appears to Manfred in the form of a beautiful young woman. The second, by François-Hippolyte Debon [3], The Executioner (ill. 6), was exhibited at the Salon of 1835. The work, as explained by the artist’s inscription on the back of the canvas, is a self-portrait.

5. Charles Durupt (1804-1833)
Manfred and the Spirit, 1831
Oil on canvas - 60.7 x 50 cm
Paris, Musée de la Vie Romantique
Photo : Musée de la Vie Romantique

6. François-Hippolyte Debon (1807-1872)
The Executioner, 1835
Oil on canvas - 92.3 x 73 cm
Paris, Musée de la Vie Romantique
Photo : Musée de la Vie Romantique


We will complete our review with the bequest in 2009 by Fernande Goldschmidt of a plaster medallion by Count Emilien de Nieuwerkerke, representing a young girl in profile (ill. 7) as well as the donation (also in 2009) by Gérard Héluin of an anonymous watercolour representing, in caricature form, an opera lover with the inscription “Brava Brava” on the upper left (ill. 8).

7. Emilien de Nieuwerkerke (1811-1892)
Young girl in profile, 1838
Plaster - Diameter : 16 cm
Paris, Musée de la Vie Romantique
Photo : Musée de la Vie Romantique

8. France, c. 1840
Brava Brava, opera’s lover
India ink,
watercolor and heightened with
gols gouache on paper - 24 x 14.5 cm
Paris, Musée de la
Vie Romantique
Photo : Musée de la
Vie Romantique



Didier Rykner, jeudi 3 décembre 2009


Notes

[1] The chronology of the production for these paintings is clearly explained in a letter written by Scheffer on 14 July 1857 held at the Musée de Dordrecht (and quoted in Nicole Garnier-Pelle, Chantilly, Musée Condé, Peintures des XIXe et XXe, Paris, 1997, p. 339) : “You know that I travelled to England to paint the portrait of our former queen. It’s done ; it’s a three-quarter length (“mi-jambes”) portrait […]. I transposed the head to another canvas and have already sent it to Paris in order to finish it in her formal royal gown as a widow.”

[2] Acquired for the La Scala Gallery.

[3] Acquired at Talabardon & Gautier.



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