Laurent Pécheux Works Recently Acquired by Museums

19/8/12 - Acquisitions - Lyon, Dole, Turin, Ariccia, Rome - A look at the catalogue of the Laurent Pécheux retrospective (see article) enables us to discover several acquisitions made since 2008 of works by this artist which we had not learned of earlier and thus had not mentioned here. The exhibition now provides us with the opportunity to present some of these paintings and drawings to our readers.

1. Laurent Pécheux (1729-1821)
Jacob Rebukes Laban for Giving him
Lea instead of Rachel
, 1762
Pen and Chinese Ink, Grey Wash,
White Heightenings - 49.2 x 37.2 cm
Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

2. Laurent Pécheux (1729-1821)
The Annunciation
Grey Wash, Black Ink - 37 x 28 cm
Dole, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dole

Two French museums each added a drawing to their respective collections.
The first (ill. 1) was purchased by Lyon from the Terradès gallery in Paris in 2008. This is either a very detailed study or else a ricordo for a painting residing a the Musée des Hospices Civils in Lyon [1]. The second one joined the Musée de Beaux-Arts in Dole in 2009, after acquiring it directly from a private collection. This Annunciation belonged to Philippe de Chennevières. It is no doubt preparatory, despite some slight variations, not for the canvas of the same name painted for the Collégiale church in Dole as first thought, but rather for another Annunciation which recently resurfaced, belonging to a private collection, and presented in the exhibition.
Laurent Pécheux was a great draughtsman. Most of his graphic works, such as the two sheets above, were executed in ink and wash tint, in a very spontaneous and very well mastered technique recalling at times the style of Nicolas Poussin or Charles Mellin. This is particularly evident in a drawing held at the Palais Madame, also on view currently in Dole (cat. 92), Blessed Amadeus IX, Duke of Savoy, Intercedes before the Holy Trinity for the People of Verceil Afflicted with the Plague.

3. Laurent Pécheux (1729-1821)
Two Standing Figures
Black Chalk - 18.8 x 13.2 cm
Torino, Galleria Sabauda
Photo : Bolaffi Ambassador

4. Laurent Pécheux (1729-1821)
Jesus Among the Church Doctors
Oil on Canvas - 61 x 74 cm
Torino, Galleria Sabauda
Photo : Galleria Sabauda

The Galleria Sabauda also made a few acquisitions, first at a Bolaffi Ambassador auction in Milan on 30 March 2011, with the purchase of a sketchbook of 72 items [2] (ill. 3) for 2,400€. Its primary acquisition however was made at a Turin gallery, La Bottega di San Luca, "between 2012 and 2012 [3]", Jesus among the Church Doctors (ill. 4), one of the four paintings commissioned by the Belgian artist Joseph Beke from Laurent Pécheux. These canvases represented, in order of production, The Death of the Virgin (Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts), Pentecost (Turin, Bennapi Gallery), Jesus among the Church Doctors and The Purification of the Virgin (Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts) ; they were used by their patron (perhaps unknown to Pécheux) in order to paint large formats intended for the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Thuyne in the cathedral of Saint-Martin d’Ypres [4].

5. Laurent Pécheux (1729-1821)
Saint Catherine of Sienna Welcomes Pope Gregory XI
after his Return from Avignon to Rome,
with the Curia, on 13 January 1377

Oil on Canvas - 102.5 x 197 cm
Ariccia, Museo del Barocco
Photo : D. R.

In 2007 - we discussed it here - the Museo del Barocco Romano in Ariccia received an important donation from Fabrizio Lemme which included a painting by Laurent Pécheux (ill. 5), a modello (or a ricordo) for the painting in the "cul-de-four" at the church of Saint Catherine of Sienna in Rome (1769-1773). This church also holds a painted maquette in the form of the final work which reveals several differences, both with the latter and with the Ariccia painting. In fact, Pécheux, although this aspect is not well represented in the Dole exhibition given its other priorities, was indeed a decorator, both in Rome and Turin. He painted notably a ceiling at the Palazzo Borghese, The Wedding of Cupid and Psyche (1774-1775) and another one at the Villa Borghese, The Assembly of the Gods (1777-1782).

6. Laurent Pécheux (1729-1821)
Portrait of Father François Jacquier
Oil on Canvas - 47 x 36.5 cm
Roma, La Trinité-des-Monts
Photo : D. R.

Finally, the Pécheux exhibition also presents a painting, Portrait of Father François Jacquier, Mathematician, before an Equation (ill. 6), purchased from the Kugel gallery in Paris in 2012 by the "Pieux établissements de la France à Rome et à Lorette". We should recall that this French foundation was created to help maintain the religious communities in its five churches (Saint Louis des Français, La Trinité des Monts, Saint Nicolas des Lorrains, Saint Yves des Bretons and Saint Claude des Francs-Comtois de Bourgogne) and welcome French-speaking pilgrims to Rome. This canvas was acquired for the collections in the convent of La Trinité des Monts. Father Jacquier, an erudite astronomer, physicist and mathematician belonged to the order of the Minims, was notably a professor of ecclesiastical history at the college of Trinité des Monts. He is also famous for having published, along with Father Le Sueur, a perpetual commentary on the mathematical principles of Newton’s Natural Philosophy. He is represented here as a mathematician, reflecting on a differential equation.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 21 août 2012


[1] To know more about this museum which is currently closed and whose future is as yet undecided, see this article.

[2] These are not presented in the exhibition.

[3] The history of ownership provided in the catalogue entry was not precise.

[4] Beke only had enough time to execute two, The Death of the Virgin and Jesus among the Church Doctors ; the other four were painted later by Joseph-Benoît Suvée.

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