Two Terracottas by Moitte Acquired by the Metropolitan Museum

16/12/13 - Acquisitions - New York, The Metropolitan Museum - The Metropolitan Museum recently added two terracotta sculptures by Jean-Guillaume Moitte acquired on the art market in Paris from the Perrin Gallery [1]. The works are preparatory for groups which apparently were never produced but were supposed to appear on either side of the main entrance to the Hôtel de Salm, forming an arch of triumph, on the rue de Bourbon in Paris, now the rue de Lille, and which remains almost identical today. A third group by Moitte, representing La Raison d’Etat, for which the study in terracotta is still held in a private collection, was to be located over the door.

1. Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1746-1810)
Victory Writing on a Shield
Terracotta - 47 x 16 x 15 cm
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Photo : The Metropolitan Museum of Art

2. Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1746-1810)
Running Victory
Terracotta - 47 x 17 x 16 cm
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Photo : The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The two works acquired by the American museum, unpublished until now, represent Victory Writing on a Shield (ill. 1) and Running Victory (ill. 2). They were commissioned by Pierre Rousseau, the architect of the Hôtel de Salm, which he built between 1782 and 1787. The execution of the exterior sculptures was shared between Moitte and Philippe Laurent Roland. The first also produced the figures for the cupola of the building for which the terracotta models reside at the Musée de la Légion d’Honneur, housed inside the Hôtel de Salm.
Moitte studied under Jean Baptiste Pigalle and Jean Baptiste Lemoyne. After receiving the Prix de Rome in 1768, he spent three years at the Ecole royale des Eleves protégés as was the custom, before leaving for the Académie de France in Rome. During his stay in the Italian capital, he copied models of armor, helmets and arms (see for example here, at Ensba) after Antiquity, which he would later execute in works such as this one. He also found inspiration in the reliefs on Trajan’s column.

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 16 décembre 2013


[1] According to the ownership history provided by the Metropolitan on its website, they were listed as anonymous at an Artcurial auction on 4 December 2011 and purchased at the time by Patrice Bellanger, before reaching the Perrin Gallery.

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