New drawing donations for ENSBA

15/4/08— Acquisitions — Paris, Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts — Two years ago we pointed out in La Tribune de l’Art the creation of an association to acquire drawings for the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, named Le cabinet des amateurs de dessins de l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Since then, many works have been acquired thanks to donations. The list includes :

1. Holland, XVIIth
The Return of
the Prodigal Son
, 1623
Pen, black ink, grey
wash - 16.2 x 41.5 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

— Holland, XVIIth century, The Return of the Prodigal Son (ill. 1).

This drawing, by an anonymous author, is dated 1623. It was acquired at Christie’s Paris on 21 November 2007 for 1,680 euros (including charges).

2. Joseph Parrocel (1646-1704)
Christ Served
by Two Angels

Black chalk, pen and brown ink,
watercolor and gouache - 22 x 33.5 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

— Joseph Parrocel, Christ Served by Two Angels (ill. 2).

Acquired at the Hotel Druout on 23 May 2007 [1], this is the first sheet by the artist to enter the collections of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. It was recently shown, as were the following two, in an exhibition of Parrocel’s drawings currently in Avignon at the Musee Calvet. In the catalogue, Jerome Delaplanche (who also wrote the monography published recently at Arthena [2]) explains that despite the subject, the end of Christ’s fast in the desert, this is not a work from the series of preliminary drawings for the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ meant for engraving.

3. Etienne Parrocel (1646-1704)
Study of Five Figures
Black chalk and white chalk - 54.2 x 40.4 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

— Etienne Parrocel, A Kneeling Man Holding a Woman in his Arms, a Man of the Church Praying and Two Figures Raising their Arms to the Sky (ill. 3).

This drawing which was acquired by the association at Christie’s on 15 November 2006 [3] is a preparation for the painting done in 1739 for the Chapel of Saint Charles in the Church of Saint Prassede in Rome and represents Saint Charles Borromeo Praying for the End of the Plague. On the canvas, the saint and an acolyte, while a musician angel hovers overhead, pray for the victims of the plague. The figures studied here appear partly in the background but this in no way hinders Parrocel from also studying those parts that remain hidden in the final work.

4. Etienne Parrocel (1646-1704)
Atlante Holding a Yoke
Black chalk heigtened with white -
41.5 x 28 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

— Etienne Parrocel, Atlante Holding a Yoke (ill. 4)

This second drawing by Etienne Parrocel was donated in 2007 by Alexandre Galdin through the association, as he is a member. This is a copy after a painted motif by Jules Romain in Constantine’s Chamber at the Vatican.

5. Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (1724-1780)
Vitellius Is Led to his Torture
Pen, grey and sepia wash heigtened with white gouache - 20.4 x 15.5 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

— Gabriel de Saint-Aubin, Vitellius Is Led to his Torture (ill. 5).

This is a preliminary drawing [4] for an engraving illustrating Le Spectacle de l’Histoire romaine, a work by Philippe de Pretot which appeared in 1776. The life of the Emperor Vitellius had been told notably by Suetonius (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars). He was assassinated by Vespasian’s troops. Saint-Aubin’s illustration follows Suetonius’ description to a ‘t’ : “ They tied his hands behind his back, threw a rope around his neck, tore his garments, and dragged him half naked onto the Forum, all the while shouting all sorts of insults down the whole length of the sacred road.” His physical appearance also fits the description : “he was of a gigantic size, his face purple from drunkenness, with a fat belly and a leg mutilated after being hit by a quadriga when he was still in the service of Caligula during the chariot races”. In the background, the Temple of Jupiter is going up in flames.

6. Gabriel François Doyen (1726-1806)
Miracle des Ardents
Pen, brown ink and wash -
22.8 x 15.4 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

— Gabriel Francois Doyen, Miracle des Ardents (ill. 6).

Miracle des Ardents is Gabriel-Francois Doyen’s most famous painting, executed in 1767 for the transept of the Church of Saint Roch and is still there today. Many drawings and painted studies of it are known. This sheet, acquired at Piasa in December 2007 [5], is still very different from the final work in which the composition was inverted. A drawing that is very comparable to this one is at the Musee Bonnat in Bayonne which also owns an oil study closer to the completed work.

7. Jacques Gamelin (1738-1803)
Battle Scene, 1783
Pen, blue ink and wash heigtened with white gouache - 29.5 x 41.6 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

— Jacques Gamelin, Battle Scene (ill. 7).

The artist, a native of Carcassonne, was in Rome between 1765 and 1774 where he became known as a painter of battle scenes, and was received as such on 3 February 1771 into the Academy of San Lucca. The technique – blue wash on blue paper with white highlights – as well as the style, with its easily recognizable stocky figures, are characteristic of Gamelin.
This drawing was donated by one of its members, Daniel Thierry, through the association.

8. Augustin Pajou (1730-1809)
The Anatomy Lesson, 1764
Black chalk, pen, brown ink and wash - 40 x 57 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

— Augustin Pajou, The Anatomy Lesson (ill. 8).

This drawing was acquired at auction in Paris on 8 June 2007 [6]. Signed and dated 1764, it was exhibited at the Salon the following year and was noticed by Diderot : “This, an anatomy lesson ? It is a Roman banquet : Take away the cadaver, put in its place a big turbot, and you have a ready-made engraving for a Juvenal first edition”James David Draper and Guilhem Scherf, Pajou, Paris, 1997, quoted (in French) p. 382.]].

9. Horace Vernet (1789-1863)
Six Horses in a Landscape
Pen, brown ink, China ink wash, heightened with white - 13 x 24 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

— Horace Vernet, Six Horses in a Landscape (ill. 9).

This sheet was acquired in Saint-Paul-les-Dax on 24 June 2007 [7]. It is no doubt from Vernet’s period in Rome in the early 1820’s although it is impossible to relate it to a specific painting. The hypothesis that this might be a project for Mazeppa, a subject often represented by the artist, suggested by Isabelle Julia, seems unlikely given the number of horses.

10. Paul Baudry (1828-1886)
Ensemble Studies for the Poètes Civilisateurs (recto)
Pen and brown ink - 32.5 x 50.2 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

11. Paul Baudry (1828-1886)
Ensemble Studies for the Poètes Civilisateurs (verso)
Pen and brown ink - 32.5 x 50.2 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

— Paul Baudry, Ensemble Studies for the Poètes Civilisateurs (ill. 10 and 11).

This sheet, drawn on front and back, which was once in the Louis-Antoine Prat collection, is a preparation for one of the sections of the hall in the Opera de Paris [8]. The Ecole des Beaux-Arts owns an extensive collection of the artist’s drawings bequeathed by Louise Garnier in 1922 but did not own until now any “ensemble” study. The Ensba is currently presenting, until 3 May 2008, a hang of Baudry (see news item of 22/3/08).

12. Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)
Study for the Portrait
of Henri Edmond Cross

Charcoal - 29.6 x 23 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

13. Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)
Study for the Portrait
of Henri Edmond Cross

Charcoal - 29.6 x 23 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

— Maximilien Luce, Study of a Jacket and Study of Heads (ill. 12 and 13).

Maximilien Luce did uncountable numbers of drawings and they often come up for auction. The artist is not always at his best but these [9] are a preparation for one of his finest works : the Portrait of Henri Edmond Cross held at the Musee d’Orsay and dated 1898.

14. Nicolas-René Jollain (1732-1804)
Orpheus and Eurydice
Fusain - 24.5 x 25.5 cm
Paris, Ensba
Photo : Ensba

Finally, a drawing was donated by Jean-Christophe Baudequin separately from the association. This is a red-chalk work by Nicolas-Rene Jollain (ill. 14) representing the moment when Orpheus discovers Eurydice dead. It is not a preparation for any known work.

In the last few days, other drawings have been donated to the Ensba by the association, dealers and collectors. We shall, therefore, devote another news item to these shortly.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 15 avril 2008


[1] Ascribed to Joseph Parrocel, Biblical Scene ; for 3,000 euros (without charges). Second part of the Paul Frantz Marcou collection, SVV Lafon.

[2] Jerome Delaplanche, Joseph Parrocel (1646-1704). La nostalgie de l’héroïsme, Arthena, Paris, 2007.

[3] 2,000 euros (without charges).

[4] Acquired at auction in October 2007 for 9,819 euros (including charges).

[5] Auctioned on 12 December 2007. Acquired for 12,000 euros (without charges).

[6] Beaussant-Lefevre auction, sold for 6,800 euros without charges.

[7] For 8,000 euros before charges.

[8] It was acquired on the Parisian art market in 2007.

[9] They were acquired on 18 May 2006 from SVV Tajan, the first for 800 euros and the second for 6,200 (before charges).

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