Several French drawings donated to the Louvre on condition

30/09/07 — Acquisitions — Paris, Musée du Louvre — A generous collector who wishes to remain anonymous donated twelve drawings of the French school, XIXth C. and earlier, in 2006 on condition of lifetime use or “usufruit” (in tribute to Pierre Rosenberg). The Louvre had already received a first donation from the same source in 1999 [1]

. Each time, the benefactor has allowed the conservators free rein in selecting the works they deem worthy of entering the collections at the Louvre.

1. Bernard Picart (1673-1733)
The Four Evangelists and Pentecost
Pen, black ink, grey wash – 5.5 x 13.4 cm each drawing
Paris, Musée du Louvre (donation on condition of life use)

- Bernard Picart, The Four Evangelists and Pentecost (ill. 1). These two small drawings are very minutely executed and mounted on the same original support. They are undoubtedly preliminary studies for engravings.

2. Bernard Picart (1673-1733)
Apollo and Daphne
Pen, brown ink and
brown wash
Paris, Musée du Louvre (donation on condition of life use)

- Bernard Picart, Apollo and Daphne (ill. 2). This drawing represents a theme that the artist treated at least one other time, in relief (an engraving, one of which is held at the Fine Art Museum of San Francisco).

3. Pierre-Hubert Larchevêque (1721-1778)
Project for Fountain
Pen and brown ink,
grey wash - 54.5 x 31 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (donation on condition of life use)

- Pierre-Hubert Larchevêque, Project for Fountain (ill. 3). The Louvre had only one drawing by this sculptor who spent his career in Sweden. The location for the planned fountain is unknown, nor if it was ever executed.

4. Louis-Félix de la
Rue (1730-1777)
A Zodiac Sign (?)
Signed bottom right
Pen, brown ink, brown wash - 24 x 19 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (donation on condition of life use)

- Louis-Félix de La Rue, A Zodiac Sign (?) (ill. 4). This artist did numerous drawings which are easily identifiable. This one, representing a grape harvest, entered the museum as symbolizing a sign of the zodiac (but which one ?), due to its similarity to other drawings held at the Musée de Poitiers (the dimensions are slightly different however).

5. Ascribed to Simon Julien, known as
de Toulon (1735-1800)
Sacrificial Scene
Pen, brown ink, brown wash, red chalk - 43 x 33.5 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (donation on condition of life use)

- Ascribed to Simon Julien, known as de Toulon, Sacrificial Scene (ill. 5). This relatively unknown artist has a masterpiece, The Martyrdom of Saint Hippolytus, held at the Primatiale Saint-Jean in Lyon. The attribution of this drawing seems probable, when compared to another already in the Louvre, Apollo Flaying Marsyas.

6. Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg (1740-1812)
Project for a Frontispice with Skull, 1797
Signed and dated
bottom right
Pen, brown ink and
grey wash - 20 x 26 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (donation on condition of life use)

- Philippe de Loutherbourg, Project for a Frontispice with Skull (ill. 6). This extraordinary drawing reminds us that the artist was trained by his father who was a miniaturist and that he himself was an illustrator. This type of work is very similar to those used for the engravings of the Macklin Bible published in seven volumes in 1800. Olivier Lefeuvre, who is preparing a monograph on the artist, pointed out to us however that this one was probably for another project as the attributes here are those of Mary Magdalene. Dated 1797, this drawing is already infused with the Romantic spirit and signed in a very visible manner, Loutherbourg having added the initials R.A. meaning that he was a member of the Royal Academy in London.

7. Alphonse Nicolas Michel Mandevare (c. 1770 ?-1829)
Landscape with Ruins
Black chalk and white chalk highlights - 41.5 x 56.5 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (donation on condition of life use)

- Alphonse Nicolas Michel Mandevare, Landscape with Ruins (ill. 7). The Louvre already owned several drawings by this little-known landscape artist. His date of birth varies depending on the source but that of his death is generally accepted as having been 1829 ; however, there is an Alphonse Mandevare who exhibited work at the Salon until 1848, perhaps his son.

8. Joseph-Ferdinand Lancrenon (1794-1874)
Hector’s Farewell to Andromaque
Black chalk and white chalk - 44 x 58 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (donation on condition of life use)

- Joseph-Ferdinand Lancrenon, Hector’d Farewell to Andromaque (ill. 8). The drawings by this artist are often close to those of his master Girodet. This one’s manner, with its contrasts in brown and white, evokes drawings of Ossianesque subjects. The chalk is particularly striking for the figure of Hector, and especially for that of Astyanax running to his father, rendered in just a few strokes. The Musée du Louvre had acquired a very beautiful drawing by Lancrenon (Orythie Abducted by Boreas) in 2005.

9. Achille Devéria (1800-1857)
Supposed Portrait of Octavia Devéria,
sister of the artist

Signed and dated bottom right
Graphite pencil and highlights in white - 13.5 x10.5 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (donation on condition of life use)

- Achille Devéria, Portrait of the Artist’s Sister (ill. 9). This drawing is dated 1820, when the artist was barely twenty years old. It probably represents one of his sisters, Octavia. Although there is no documented portrait by Achille Devéria before 1823, this intimate likeness is very different from those, belonging more to high-society, that he executed later in great numbers for lithographs.

10. Léon Cogniet (1794-1880)
Head of Woman Crying
Monogram bottom right
Graphite - 41 x 27.7 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (donation on condition of life use)

- Léon Cogniet, Head of Woman Crying (ill. 10). This drawing was donated and appears in the inventory as a preliminary study for the figure of Mary Magdalene in the décor of the Parisian church of that name. Although this might be possible, none of the many studies for the Holy Women at the Tomb – the subject of the lunette decorated by the painter on the left side of the nave – corresponds to this attitude, Mary Magdalene appearing standing showing her right profile (a study shows her full-face). The striking pathos of this figure is not unusual in Cogniet’s work and comparable in spirit to that of the woman hiding her child in the Massacre of the Holy Innocents at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes.

11. Edme Saint-Marcel (1819-1890)
Head of dear, 1866
Monogram and date bottom right
Charcoal and black chalk - 24 x 33.5 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre (donation on condition of life use)

- Edme Saint-Marcel, Head of Deer (ill. 11). A close friend of Delacroix with whom he frequented, along with Barye, the menagerie at the museum, the artist specialized in animal painting. This deer massacre is treated in a very grand manner, recalling Flemish drawings of the XVIIth C.

Version française

Didier Rykner, dimanche 30 septembre 2007


[1] The first donation included :
- Ascribed to Jean Jouvenet (or after), Academic study of reclining man on his side (an almost identical drawing is held in Sacramento)
- Dominique Vivant Denon, Portrait of an Oriental in a Turban
- XIXth C. French School, Academic study of woman sitting in ¾ left angle
- Pierre Lelu, Decorative project
- Antoine Duparc, Project for the altar of the Chapelle Notre-Dame de l’Espérance in Aix-en-Provence
- Ascribed to Jean-Charles de La Fosse, Project for lectern (this drawing bears a La Fosse signature and is ascribed to Charles de La Fosse. It seems more probable that it is a work by the ornemantalist Jean-Charles de La Fosse).
- Félix Boisselier, Italian Landscape
- Jean Alaux, Faith and Hope (a study for the décor of the Church of Sainte Elizabeth in Paris)
- Henri de Triqueti, Reclining Nude Female.

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