Two Paintings by Michel-Ange Challe Donated to the Louvre

23/12/13 - Acquisitions - Paris, Musée du Louvre - Thanks to the help of the Société des Amis du Louvre, the museum recently received a donation made by Christian and Nathalie Volle and by Marie-Catherine Sahut consisting of two canvases painted by Michel-Ange Challe (or Charles-Michel-Ange Challe) representing respectively Venus and Cupid and Danaë (ill. 1 and 2). These are the first works by the artist to join the collections at the Louvre though the Département des Sculptures had acquired a marble Virgin by his brother Simon in 2011 (see news item of 8/12/12).

1. Michel-Ange Challe (1718-1778)
Venus and Cupid, 1752
Oil on canvas - 98 x 150 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre

2. Michel-Ange Challe (1718-1778)
Danaë, 1752
Oil on canvas - 97 x 152 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre

As shown by their shape and upper curved part (later cut into a rectangle), these canvases produced in 1752 (Venus and Cupid is dated and signed on the bottom left) originally were intended to hang above a doorway but their exact provenance has not yet been determined.

Challe, Prix de Rome in 1741, who exhibited at the Salon between 1753 and 1765, was a student of François Boucher as well as of François Lemoyne whose influence seems to have predominated in these two works. Due to its almost Venetian coloring and its subject, Danaë recalls another French artist of the previous century, Jacques Blanchard. A history painter, Michel-Ange Challe can also be compared to Vien in some of his other works (for example Christ and the Centurion at the church of Saint Roch in Paris). Today he is known above all as a draughtsman (he devoted himself essentially to this art after being appointed in 1764 "Dessinateur du cabinet du Roi"), with his large sheets in black pencil and red chalk showing architectural views and vedute strongly marked by Piranesi. We would like to point out that a dissertation on the artist is currently in progress (see here).
Thanks to these donations, made in memory of Marie Volle (1976-2005), these two works acquired on the Paris art market in 1979 and which had each joined different collections, will now be reunited. They will hang as originally intended over doors, this time in the gallery presenting the furniture of Mesdames, the daughters of Louis XV, at Bellevue which is to open in the spring of 2014 at the same time as the new section highlighting 18th century furniture [1].

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 23 décembre 2013


[1] A large portion of the historical information found in this news item was drawn from the entry written by Marie Catherine Sahut for the bulletin published by the Société des Amis du Louvre.

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