Jean-Baptiste Oudry (Paris 1686-1755 Beauvais) A still life of grapes, peaches and a basket of plums on a stone ledge above a silver wine cooler beside a split melon and a pink hollyhock in a wooded park
Lot 51W
Jean-Baptiste Oudry
(Paris 1686-1755 Beauvais)
A still life of grapes, peaches and a basket of plums on a stone ledge above a silver wine cooler beside a split melon and a pink hollyhock in a wooded park
£150,000 - 250,000
US$ 250,000 - 420,000
Auction Details
Lot Details
Jean-Baptiste Oudry (Paris 1686-1755 Beauvais)
A still life of grapes, peaches and a basket of plums on a stone ledge above a silver wine cooler beside a split melon and a pink hollyhock in a wooded park
signed and indistinctly dated 'JB Oudry/17**' (lower right)
oil on canvas
112 x 147cm (44 1/8 x 57 7/8in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Probably Louis Henri de Bourbon-Condé, duc de Bourbon (1692–1740)
    Possibly acquired by the present owner's family from Jean-Louis Bonnefoy, Au Vieux Paris, Paris, circa 1928, and thence by descent

    EXHIBITED
    Amsterdam, 1933, Jacques Goudstikker, Het Stilleven, cat. no. 81 (as Desportes, ill.)

    LITERATURE
    G. Lastic, Desportes: Catalogue Raisonné, Paris, 1960, no. 81 (as Oudry)
    H. N. Opperman, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, New York and London, 1977 (based on 1972 Ph. D. University of Chicago thesis), vol. I, p. 561, cat. no. P. 529, ill. vol. II. p. 1010. fig. 76, (as J.B. Oudry? Whereabouts unknown)

    This important commission may be compared to the artist's works of the early to mid-1720s (for example, the Still Life with Monkey, Fruits and Flowers, 142 x 144 cm., in The Art Institute of Chicago, which is dated 1724 and includes a stone plinth to the left with grapes, a split melon, peaches and hollyhocks to the right). It is thus entirely characteristic of Oudry's developed rococo palette, dominated by beautifully subtle hues of bluish greens, silver and pink. The composition is also typical of the aesthetic of this period of his career: his choice of fruits and flowers seems to avoid the regular and the ordered, preferring such unruly plants as hollyhocks. This is a rococo re-invention of the decorative still-life tradition of the time of Louis XIV, as exemplified by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer, whom Oudry is known to have admired.

    Moving on from the old-fashioned decorative ordering of meticulously painted detail to the use of a freer and more loosely rhythmical style, Oudry's work became distinct from the disinterested naturalism of artists such as his chief competitor, Alexandre-François Desportes. With his rich colouring, dramatic lighting and settings he encroached on the latter artist's territory, breaking his royal monopoly. King Louis XV ordered a series of overdoors portraying his favourite hunting dogs for his apartments at Compiègne; while Oudry's Fox Hunt, Wolf Hunt and Roe Hunt were delivered to the Château de Chantilly in 1725 for the duc de Bourbon (although paid for by the Crown).

    The present work was evidently such a distinguished commission since the silver wine cooler bears the arms of the Condé family. Louis de Bourbon-Condé (at that point known as the duc de Bourbon. see fig.1) had in 1685 married Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, the legitimised daughter of Louis XIV of France and Françoise-Athénaïs, Marquise de Montespan. He was succeeded in 1710 by his son, Louis Henri de Bourbon-Condé, duc de Bourbon. He led a quiet life and was known at court as Monsieur le Duc. After a spell in the government, Bourbon was exiled to his country estate, the Château de Chantilly, 40 kilometers northeast of Paris. The château then underwent a sort of renaissance, being described as a "splendid residence" after he redecorated the building as well as the grounds and established the Chantilly porcelain there.

    The splendid silver wine cooler depicted here is probably after a design by Juste Aurèle Meissonier (1795-1750) of circa 1723. A goldsmith, sculptor, painter, architect and furniture designer, Meissonier was appointed by Louis XV Dessinateur de la chambre et du cabinet du roi. Copies of this design were popular in the 19th century, one example which is close to that of the present cooler being in the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada.
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