Recent Acquisitions by the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes

1. Alexandrine Delaval (active between 1808 and 1838)
Malvina ; Song of Suffering upon Losing her Beloved Oscar, 1810
Oil on canvas - 92.5 x 114 cm
Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes

21/11/13 - Acquisitions - Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts - The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes has made four interesting 19th century additions to its collections in the course of 2013.
The first is a painting (ill. 1) which qualifies as Ossianic only in its subject since its execution does not at all convey the fantastic atmosphere we find in the illustrations of McPherson’s poem by Girodet, Gérard, Ingres as well as several other painters of the first half of the 19th century.
The Neo-Classical work depicts Malvina crying over the loss of Oscar and is by a woman, Alexandrine Delaval, who produced it in 1810. The late 18th and early 19th centuries witnessed many female artists who presented paintings at the Salon. Delaval, apparently not represented until now in any public collections in France, was a student of Jean Baptiste Regnault. The canvas was purchased from the Leegenhoek Gallery in Paris.

2. Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Debay (1802-1862)
Louis Pommeraye
Bronze - 64 x 36 cm
Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes

The Debays were a family of artists : the father, Jean-Baptiste-Joseph (known as Debay father) was a sculptor, and the two sons, Auguste-Hyacinthe and Jean-Baptiste-Joseph (Debay son), respectively a painter and a sculptor. The last two were born in Nantes and the Musée des Beaux-Arts there holds works by all three.
The establishment acquired a bronze bust by Debay son representing Louis Pommeraye (ill. 2), at Sotheby’s Paris on 16 April, 2013 for 4,500€ (before charges). Pommeraye, a notary public and developer, was behind the covered passage bearing his name in Nantes but which resulted in his bankruptcy. His bust by Debay, not known before appearing at auction, is a beautiful Romantic sculpture depicting an alert young man, with flowing hair, intensely ambitious.

3. Henry-Pierre Picou (1824-1895)
The Styx, 1849
Oil on canvas - 114 x 146.3 cm
Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes

4. Henry-Pierre Picou (1824-1895)
The Styx, c. 1849
Oil on canvas - 24.9 x 47 cm
Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes

The Musée des Beaux-Arts is currently holding a remarkable exhibition in the chapel highlighting Neo-Greek artists which we will soon discuss here. Visitors will discover a large painting by Henry-Pierre Picou representing The Styx (ill. 3), belonging to the museum, and its study (ill. 4), just recently acquired by the museum directly from a private collector. The final work had been presented at the Salon of 1849. This painted study shows various differences in the layout of the figures and the treatment of their clothing. As pointed out in the entry for the work found on the museum website, one sees the influence of Flaxman (in the figure of the weeping woman) but also that of Jean-Louis Hamon, another painter who worked in the Neo-Greek style and also present here in the exhibition. Picou, like Debay, was born in Nantes.

5. Maurice Chabas (1862-1847)
Calm Sea or Calm at Belon, c. 1888-1895
Oil on canvas - 81 x 65 cm
Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes

Finally, the fourth work is from a later date but also by a Nantes artist, Maurice Chabas (ill. 5). It represents the beach at Riec-sur-Belon, in the Finistère region. Executed in large color blocks, this beautiful painting produced in the years between 1888-1895 recalls Nabis art. Acquired from the Parisian gallery "L’atelier des artistes", this is the first landscape by the painter to join the collections at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes.

Version française

Didier Rykner, jeudi 21 novembre 2013

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