The Wildenstein Gallery donates two paintings to the Musée d’Orsay

1. Jean-François Raffaëlli (1850-1924)
Les apprêts d’un repas de chasse
Oil on canvas - 150.5 x 200 cm
Paris, Musée d’Orsay
Photo : Wildenstein & Co, Inc.

26/7/09 Acquisitions – Paris, Musée d’Orsay The Musée d’Orsay has just benefited from a donation made by Wildenstein & Co., Inc. of two paintings, one by Jean-Fançois Raffaëlli, the other by Edmond Aman-Jean.

The first one (ill. 1) was originally part of a series of three canvases (two are now lost) painted for Joseph Carel as a décor for his dining room in Saint Germain en Laye. This is an opulent still-life which evokes Flemish works, notably those by Frans Snyders. The treatment of these or a hunting feast also recall Gustave Courbet, notably the dead deer at the center of the composition found in several works by the artist, particularly the painting at the Petit Palais in Paris dated 1876.

2. Edmond-François Aman-Jean (1858-1936)
Venezia Bella, Regina del Mare, 1893
Oil on canvas - 120.5 x 157 cm
Paris, Musée d’Orsay
Photo : Wildenstein & Co, Inc.

Although the Raffaëlli canvas is part of the Realist movement, the one by Aman-Jean (ill. 2) belongs to Symbolism and Rose+Croix. The artist was a student of Henri Lehmann, as was Seurat with whom he was friends. He also worked briefly with Puvis de Chavanne. Aman-Jean was close to Henri Martin and Ernest Laurent and traveled to Italy with them where they discovered the Primitives and Raphael. He produced a calm Symbolism dominated by female figures, diaphanous and vaporous at once. The painting donated to Orsay, exhibited at the Salon de 1893, is an allegory of Venice, a subject often illustrated by Aman-Jean who represents the Italian city here with his wife’s features, Thadée-Caroline Jacquet. According to an old photograph, the canvas bore an inscription on gold leaf, VENEZIA BELLA/REGINA DEL MARE, until around 1939 but has since disappeared.
Orsay holds several paintings by Aman-Jean, including a portrait of his wife painted the year before this allegory. Both works are currently being shown side by side [1].

Version française

Didier Rykner, dimanche 26 juillet 2009


[1] The painting by Jean-François Raffaëlli is hanging in the same room.

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