Masters of European Drawing from the 16th to the 20th century. Georges Pebereau Collection


16th to 20th century masters of European drawing. The Georges Pébereau collection

Paris, musée du Louvre from 22 november 2009 to 22 february 2010.

1. Francesco Vanni (1562-1610)
The Forgiveness
of Francis of Assisi

Oil on maroufled
paper on canvas - 28.1 x 18.5 cm
Paris, Georges Pébereau’s collection
Photo : Musée du Louvre

Should private collections be exhibited at the Louvre ? The answer is certainly yes when they are of museum quality. This was the case for the Louis-Antoine Prat’s and also the Motais de Narbonne’s which will be shown in the spring [1].

Can one say the same for the Georges Pébereau collection ? Pierre Rosenberg has said that a good collector needs time, money and knowledge. We would add, and good taste. Georges Pébereau undoubtedly has money. But it is not enough to accumulate great names – Castiglione (ill. 17), Poussin, Le Brun, Watteau, Boucher, G.B. Tiepolo, Greuze, Prud’hon, Corot, Toulouse-Lautrec, Seurat, Cézanne, Carpeaux – with no attention to quality. We should, however, be fair and indeed acknowledge that some sheets are of a very high level : the Francesco Vanni (ill. 1) acquired at the Salon du Dessin 2009 and which we had spoken about at the time, is a masterpiece, as well as the Fragonard, the David from the Saint-Laurent/Bergé auction (ill. 2), the Girodet, the Géricault, the Delacroix watercolour of Paolo and Francesca (ill. 3), the Portrait of Oscar de Ronchicourt by Chasseriau, the large Puvis de Chavannes and the Carlos Schwabe… Perhaps a fourth of the eighty-three drawings exhibited here are worthy of the Louvre. Unfortunately, these were not the ones which were donated.

2. Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825)
Portrait of an Unknown Man, called of Saint-Estève
Graphite, pen and black ink,
brown wash heightened with white - D. : 18 cm
Paris, Georges Pébereau’s collection
Photo : Christie’s


3. Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)
Paolo and Francesca
Watercolour - 28.5 x 21.5 cm
Paris, Georges Pébereau’s collection
Photo : Musée du Louvre

An unwritten rule states that collectors, as thanks to the museum for exhibiting their collection, should make a donation. Georges Pébereau’s hangs with great pomp in one of the rooms, and it is hard to ignore as it is written in very large letters above each sheet. The donation is made as a “promised gift”, not by the collector as the signs and catalogue mislead visitors to believe by a simple omission, but rather by his granddaughter ! These eight works will probably not join the Louvre – at least we sincerely hope so for this young lady – for another seventy years. To be frank however, the museum will not be missing much [2]. Without dwelling on the one attributed to Castiglione (ill. 17) nor on that by Honthorst (ill. 18) which is interesting uniquely due to its rareness, only the Last Supper by Simon Vouet (ill. 4) and perhaps the Boilly (ill. 20) are sheets which future generations will feel fortunate to have in their holdings. Given the added value which this exhibition will now provide the collection, does the Louvre really need to thank Georges Pébereau, or should it not be in fact the other way around ?

4. Simon Vouet (1590-1649)
Last Supper
Red chalk, brush, beige wash -
20.8 x 18.7 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
(promised-gift by
Georges Pébereau’s granddaughter)
Photo : Musée du Louvre


5. Friedrich Overbeck (1789-1869)
Virgin and Child with Two Angels
Graphite, grey wash - 45.6 x 46.2 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre

The hang is also an opportunity for the museum to display for the first time some of the drawings acquired in 2008 and 2009 through dation, that is for purposes of tax deduction (similar to acceptance in lieu). When the collector distances himself from the requisite old masters in order to better explore the field of 19th century German drawing, an unexpected path, his choices become much more discerning [3]. The Friedrich Overbeck (ill. 5), a very beautiful and perfectly characteristic work of this artist as are the two portraits by, respectively, Johann Gottfried Schadow and Wilhelm von Schadow (ill. 7 and 8), all fine examples of German Nazarene art which is poorly represented in France. Indeed, how unfortunate that the other sheets from this collection which joined the museum through acceptance in lieu have not been included in the exhibition.

We would like to conclude this article by listing the works in the Pébereau collection which were acquired through acceptance in lieu as well as those donated as a promised gift by his granddaughter.

- Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, The Corvette Najaden’s Deck (ill. 6)

6. Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1783-1853)
The Corvette Najaden’s Deck
Black pencil, pen, ink and grey wash - 21.5 x 19 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Johann Gottfried Schadow, Portrait of Charlotte Susanna Juliane Schadow (ill. 7)

7. Johann Gottfried Schadow (1764-1850)
Portrait of Charlotte Susanna Juliane Schadow
Black chalk, heightened with white - 33.5 x 27.6 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Wilhelm von Schadow, Portrait of Christian Friedrich Gottlieb Schadow (ill. 8)

8. Wilhelm von Schadow (1788-1862)
Portrait of Christian Friedrich Gottlieb Schadow
Black chalk, heightened with white - 32.2 x 27 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Friedrich Overbeck, The Virgin and Child with Two Angels (ill. 5) and The Christ with Children (not exposed, ill. 9)

9. Friedrich Overbeck (1789-1869)
Christ with Children
Black chalk - 45 x 33 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Johann Christian Reinhart, Study of Two Trees (ill. 10)

10. Johann Christian Reinhart (1761-1847)
Study of Two Trrees
Black chalk - 63 x 48,2 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Apostle Standing in Right Profile (not exposed, ill. 11)

11. Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872)
Apostle Standing in Right Profile
Black pencil, pen and grey ink - 37.5 x 22.2 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Adolph von Menzel, Study for a Drapery (not exposed, ill. 12)

12. Adolph von Menzel (1815-1905)
Study of a Drapery
Black chalk -20.7 x 12.8 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : RMN


- Louis Janmot (1814-1892), Scene from the Soul’s Ode (not exposed, ill. 13)

13. Louis Janmot (1814-1892)
Scene from the Soul’s Ode, 1850-1854
Black chalk - 114 x 130 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : RMN


- Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Study for the Turkish Bath (ill. 14)

14. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)
Study for the Turkish Bath
Pen and brown ink - 15.9 x 10.6 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre


Promised gift by his granddaughter :

- Lorenzo Costa, Study for a Triomphal CharFollowed by a Cortege of Horsemen in a Landscape (ill. 15)

15. Lorenzo Costa (1460-1535)
Study for a Triomphal Char Followed by a Cortege of Horsemen in a Landscape
Pen and brown ink - 16.8 x 26.2 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (promised-gift by Georges Pébereau’s granddaughter)
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, A Winged Goddess and Others Figures on a Cloud (ill. 16)

16. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770)
A Winged Goddess and Others Figures on a Cloud
Pen and brown ink, braown wash and black chalk - 29.3 x 21 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (promised gift by Georges Pébereau’s granddaughter)
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Pastoral Scene (ill. 17)

17. Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-1664)
Pastoral Scene
Brush, red and green oil - 40.5 x 52.5 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (promised-gift by Georges Pébereau’s granddaughter)
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Gerrit van Honthorst, Solomon Sacrificing to the Idols (ill. 18)

18. Gerrit van Honthorst (1590-1656)
Solomon Sacrificing to the Idols
Pen and brown ink, grey wash,
heightened with white - 30.9 x 42.4 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (promised gift by Georges Pébereau’s granddaughter)
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Pierre Brébiette, Junon, Minerva and Venus on the Mount Helicon with the Muses as Musicians (ill. 19)

19. Pierre Brébiette (1598-c. 1650)
Minerva and Venus on the Mount Helicon with the Muses as Musicians
Red chalk- 26.3 x 42.2 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (promised gift by Georges Pébereau’s granddaughter)
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Simon Vouet, The Last Supper (ill. 4)

- Louis-Léopold Boilly, Young Woman Grinding Coffee (ill. 20)

20. Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761-1845)
Young woman Grinding Coffee
Black and white chalk - 49.9 x 39.5 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (promisd gift by Georges Pébereau’s granddaughter)
Photo : Musée du Louvre


- Victor Hugo, Landscape with Bridge near Salm, the Castle at Bottom (ill. 21)

21. Victor Hugo (1802-1885)
Landscape with Bridge near Salm, the Castle at Bottom
Pen, brown ink, brown wash,
heightened with watercolor - 14.5 x 25.7 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (promised gift by Georges Pébereau’s granddaughter)
Photo : Musée du Louvre


The excellent catalogue is published by Somogy. Several art historians have responded to the request for entries, each in a different specialization. Some will find it amusing to note that the text on Géricault was written by Tribulat Bonhomet, a character created by Villiers de L’Isle-Adam. Whose name is concealed behind this pseudonym ? The style of the article would lead us to think of a curator at the Louvre who has already written on this artist…

Under the supervision of Dominique Cordellier, Louis-Antoine Prat and Carel van Tuyll van Serooskerken, Maîtres du dessin européen du XVIe au XXe siècle. La collection Georges Pébereau, Somogy Editions d’Art ; 232 p., 35€. ISBN : 9782757203026.


Didier Rykner, jeudi 14 janvier 2010


Notes

[1] The exhibition La collection Motais de Narbonne – Tableaux français et italiens des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles will take place at the Louvre from 25 March to 21 June 2010.

[2] No doubt significantly, the catalogue does not distinguish clearly between the donation and the rest of the works, not even with a summary list.

[3] Besides the Germans, the works donated through acceptance in lieu also include a drawing by Eckersberg (ill. 6), a sketch by Ingres and a very beautiful cartoon by Louis Janmot (ill. 13).



imprimer Print this article

Previous article in Exhibitions : Masters of European Drawing from the 16th to the 20th century. Georges Pebereau Collection

Next article in Exhibitions : De chair et d’esprit. Dessins italiens du musée de Grenoble