Two Works Pre-Empted at Sotheby’s by the Louvre and Angers

1. Bourbonnais School
Narcissus Looking at Himself
in the Fountain of Love, Spied on by Echo
first quarter of the XVIth century
Brown Ink, Brown Wash - 20 x 16 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre

15/11/12 - Acquisitions - Paris, Musée du Louvre and Angers, Musée des Beaux-Arts - During the auction "Collection d’un érudit parisien" at Sotheby’s Paris on 9 November, the Musée du Louvre pre-empted a Bourbonnais drawing produced around 1515, Narcissus Looking at Himself in the Fountain of Love, Spied on by Echo, sold for 48,750€ with charges (ill. 1). The composition is close to sheet 50 (back) of the Recueil Robertet held at the BnF and also bears the same sextain in Middle French evoking the weaknesses of each of Narcissus’ virtues : unlimited beauty, honor without value...
The drawing is apparently earlier than the Robertet vellum. This collection from the early 16th century shows the name of a powerful family, subjects of the Bourbons, François Robertet was notably the Duke’s secretary. He assembled very diverse poems, illustrated in ink and wash which included Petrarch’s Triumphs transposed into French verse by Jean Robertet (1405-1492), Henri Baude’s Dictz moraux (c. 1415-1490) as well as the Proverbes communs ; these were accompanied by the nine Muses then seven famous women from Greek and Roman Antiquity, a composition by Jean Robertet of a cycle on the twelve Sibyls. This anthology was meant to educate the great men of this world and warn them of the dangers of power by presenting examples from authors in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the moderns.

2. Jean-Baptiste Le Prince (1734-1781)
L’Amour à l’espagnole, 1773
Oil on Canvas - 73.5 x 60 cm
Angers, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Sotheby’s

The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Angers also pre-empted a work, this time a painting by Jean-Baptist Le Prince representing a sleeping woman who a young man is attempting to wake with his guitar, entitled L’Amour à l’Espagnole (ill. 2) ; it sold for 240,750€. Besides its quality, the reason for this acquisition is its provenance. It belonged to the Marquis de Laborde then the Marquis de Livois, whose collection constitutes, in part, the main holdings at the Musée d’Angers.
Jean-Baptiste Le Prince trained under Vien and Boucher before leaving for Italy around 1754, then spent time in Russia from where he brought back many drawings. His reception piece at the Académie was in fact Russian Baptism (1765, Louvre).
The painting acquired by Angers was known only through an engraving by Gabriel de Saint Aubin. It was exhibited at the Salon of 1773 along with a Woman Reclining on a Sofa and appeared in 1791 in the Catalogue raisonné of a very beautiful collection of paintings belonging to the late Mr. de Livois in Angers.

Version française

Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, vendredi 16 novembre 2012

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