Musées de Senlis : an acquisition and an internet website

Thomas Couture (1815-1879)
Portrait of a Young Boy, 1846
Oil on canvas - 61 x 50 cm
Senlis, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire
Photo : Musées de Senlis

18/5/11 – Acquisition and Internet – Senlis, Musées – The Musée d’Art et d’Archélogie in Senlis has purchased the Portrait of a Young Boy by Thomas Couture, signed and dated 1846 (ill.), from the Scala gallery in Paris.
In 2003, the museum had organized an exhibition on the theme of Thomas Couture’s portraits (see the review), but it did not include any likenesses of an adolescent like this one here. The model has not been identified ; it might be, according to the curator Bénédicte Ottinger, either an imaginary figure as several others produced by the artist, or – and this seems to be more likely – a young art student who worked for him in exchange for his lessons. Even had it not been signed, the very recognizable style makes it easy to attribute to Thomas Couture.
Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, restoration work has started on the Episcopal palace housing the museum, which is currently closed. It is scheduled to reopen to the public in 2012. The extensive number of Couture works in the holdings will then be exhibited in the chapel of Chancellor Guérin, where the artist had his workshop in the 1860’s.

We would also like to take this opportunity to point out the very recent Internet posting of a website for the Musées de Senlis. Very well done, it offers readers all the necessary practical information for the three museums (the Musée d’Art et d’Archéologie, the Musée de la Vénerie and the Musée des Spahis), a historical background of the various buildings in which they are housed, works with commentaries and a database, which although not yet complete, will no doubt be invaluable to anyone wishing to find out more about the collections.

Didier Rykner, mercredi 18 mai 2011

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