Three Drawings by Loutherbourg Donated to Strasbourg

8/2/13 - Acquisitions - Strasbourg, Cabinet des Estampes et des Dessins - The beautiful retrospective on Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg organized by the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Strasbourg (see article, in French) elicited the generosity of two private lenders who have decided to part with their works, a gouache and two drawings, for the benefit of the Cabinet des Estampes et des Dessins. The collectors are Doctor Van der Gucht and Olivier Scherberich, both already donors to the Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg.

Doctor Van der Gucht donated a pen and wash drawing (ill. 1) representing a Pastoral Scene showing two donkeys, a cow in the foreground and a barely visible herd in the distance, as well as a sleeping shepherd leaning on a tree with his dog. The artist often represented this type of rural scene, particularly early in his career.

1. Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg (1740-1812)
Pastoral Scene
Pen, Ink and Wash - 19.3 x 27.3 cm
Strasbourg, Cabinet des Estampes et des Dessins
Photo : Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg

2. Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg (1740-1812)
Landscape with Two Shepherds
Gouache - 23.7 x 36.2 cm
Strasbourg, Cabinet des Estampes et des Dessins
Photo : Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg

3. Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg (1740-1812)
Four Figures in an Interior, 1767
Red Chalk - 31.5 x 21.5 cm
Strasbourg, Cabinet des Estampes et des Dessins
Photo : Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg

The two other sheets were donated by Olivier Scherberich. One is a landscape painted in gouache (ill. 2), a rare technique in Loutherbourg’s oeuvre. In his catalogue raisonné published at Arthéna, which unfortunately does not list the drawings due to their overabundance, Olivier Lefeuvre does however look at the genesis of the landscape drawings. He explains that they constituted an entirely autonomous production and that these are not generally (at least in what refers to the French period) studies for paintings but accomplished compositions, meant for sale. This is especially true for a work such as this one, a veritable small painting in miniature for which we do not know if it represents an actual site.

The second drawing donated by Olivier Scherberich is a sanguine depicting four men in an interior. We cannot tell the exact meaning of the scene. These are no doubt four military personnel resting during a campaign as suggested by the drapery in the upper left or what might be seen as a breastplate on which the man sitting on the right has placed his arm. Here again, the sheet does not seem preparatory to any painting but it can however be associated to a drawing in the same technique : the subject is analogous, surrounded with a similar setup, identical dimensions and, like here, bears the signature of the artist along with the same date, 1767.

These three works join the fourteen drawings by Loutherbourg already residing in the Cabinet des Estampes.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 12 février 2013

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