Pre-emption of a Portrait by Alexandre Roslin for the Musée Cognac-Jay

1. Alexandre Roslin (1718-1793)
Portrait of Charles-Marin de La Haye,
Fermier Général to the King

[Financial Official]
Oil on Canvas - 54 x 44 cm
Paris, Musée Cognacq-Jay
Photo : Turquin

24/9/12 - Acquisitions - Paris, Musée Cognac-Jay and Fontainebleau, Musée national du château - Last Saturday, 22 September 2012, the Hôtel de Ventes in Troyes (Boisseau, Pomez, Boisseau) auctioned off the furniture from the château de Plancy-l’Abbaye, a sad event as always in this type of sale which leaves a residence bare, particularly so given it follows the accidental death of the estate owner a year earlier.

During the proceedings the State pre-empted an unpublished portrait of a man by Alexandre (or Alexander) Roslin (ill. 1) representing most likely the Fermier Général Charles-Marin de La Haye des Fossés (1736-1790) for 20,000€ without charges which will join the Musée Cognac-Jay. The model was a collector, notably of drawings by François Boucher, and seemed to have known the painter well as he was a witness at the wedding of his youngest daughter, Alexandrine-Elisabeth, in 1786. He was also a music lover and mason, creating a lodge in Paris in 1782 called the "loge et société olympique" which also founded a concert association, "Le Concert de la Loge Olympique", active between 1786 and 1789 and which notably commissioned works from Joseph Haydn, Symphonies n° 82 to 87, known as the "Parisiennes".
The identity of this portrait can be assumed from a mention set down on a copy (or replica ?) auctioned at the Hôtel Drouot on 18 December 1991 (Etude Ader-Tajan, n° 188). The fact that the family which owned the painting acquired by Cognac-Jay was related to La Haye des Fossés makes the identification credible.

Although it already holds a wealthy selection of 18th century portraits, the museum did not own any works by Alexandre Roslin until now. Despite being of Swedish nationality, the artist can be practically considered a French painter since he settled in Paris as of 1752, married a French woman, Marie-Suzanne Giroust, also a painter, and died in the French capital, thus justifying its acquisition by Cognac-Jay. A Roslin retrospective was in fact held at the château de Versailles in 2008.

2. Martin-Guillaume Biennais
and Eugène-François Rion
Cutlery and Tumber in Vermeil
Fontainebleau, Musée national du château
Photo : SVV Boisseau, Pomez, Boisseau

Finally, we would like to point out that the château de Fontainebleau pre-empted, at this same auction, a vermeil ensemble (ill. 2) made up of a fork and spoon, a fruit knife and a dessert knife by Martin-Guillaume Biennais and a tumbler by the silversmith Eugène-François Rion, presented as a gift by Jérôme Bonaparte to his goddaughter Mathilde de Plancy to celebrate her birth in 1856 (she was to die at the age of five). Modestly estimated at 800 to 1,000€, it sold to the final bidder for 21,000€ (without charges).

Version française

Didier Rykner, mercredi 26 septembre 2012

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