The Annunciation by Jacques Blanchard acquired by the Musée de Vic-sur-Seille

1. Jacques Blanchard (1600-1638)
The Annunciation
Oil on panel - 151.5 x 120 cm
Vic-sur-Seille, Musée départemental Georges
de La Tour
Photo : Sotheby’s

16/7/09 – Acquisitions – Vic-sur-Seille, Musée départemental Georges de la Tour – The Musée de Vic-sur-Seille purchases 17th century French paintings on a regular basis. Its most recent acquisition, an unpublished Annunciation by Jacques Blanchard (ill. 1) had come up for auction on 19 June 2007 at Sotheby’s Paris where it had sold for 40,000 €, its lowest estimate, to a foreign gallery. The work has now been sold to this museum through the Galerie René Millet in Paris for 100,000 €.
The composition is painted on wood, rare for this artist. There seems to be only one other painting, Christ and the Adulteress, a small format held at the Louvre, also in this same support. Two large horizontal cracks appear on the work but this fact, which can be eliminated or attenuated by restoring it in the future, does not really hamper the painting’s appreciation. The panel is of remarkable quality, executed with a very light brush, and despite its large dimensions recalls almost a study. The obvious influence of the Venetian school would seem to indicate a date in the early 1630’s.

2. Ascribed to Meiffren Comte (c. 1630-1705)
Vanity with Scores
Oil on canvas - 59 x 79 cm
Vic-sur-Seille, Musée départemental Georges de La Tour
Photo : Musée départemental Georges de La Tour

In 2006, this departmental museum had acquired from the Galerie Bob Haboldt in Paris a still-life (. 2) auctioned off at Christie’s Paris on 5 July 2005 (for 21,000 € without charges) and attributed cautiously at the time to Madeleine Boulogne (1648-1710). _ We had not then discussed this purchase, a wise decision after all perhaps, as since joining the museum this attribution has been under reconsideration. According to Claudia Salvi, the author of an article appearing in the upcoming edition of 50 sept, the cultural magazine of the Conseil Général de Moselle, this is in fact a work by Meiffren Comte, a painter from Marseille, an identification which has been accepted it appears by Pierre Rosenberg.
If the name of Madeleine Boulogne – the sister of Louis and Bon Boulogne – was a surprise, we must admit that Meiffren Comte’s is just as unexpected. This artist is better known for his exuberant still-lifes, often filled with opulent silver objects, a far cry from the spirit of this painting which evokes the austere “vanitas” of the first half of the 17th century (notably from the Lorraine school) rather than those painted under Louis XIV, even if the dynamic composition would call for a date after 1650.

Version française

Didier Rykner, vendredi 17 juillet 2009

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