Catalogue des Livres, Tableaux, Desseins et Estampes de feu M. le Comte de Vence, Lieutenant Général des Armées du Roy, Commandant à la Rochelle, & Colonel du Régiment Royal-Corse. Claude Alexandre de Villeneue AUCTION CATALOGUE: VENCE, Comte de.
Catalogue des Livres, Tableaux, Desseins et Estampes de feu M. le Comte de Vence, Lieutenant Général des Armées du Roy, Commandant à la Rochelle, & Colonel du Régiment Royal-Corse.

The Comte de Vence’s Collections of Books & Art

Catalogue des Livres, Tableaux, Desseins et Estampes de feu M. le Comte de Vence, Lieutenant Général des Armées du Roy, Commandant à la Rochelle, & Colonel du Régiment Royal-Corse.

Finely engraved frontis. port. of the collector (with an earlier state bound-in, see below) & engraved arms on title. 2 p.l., iv, 151 pp.; 2 p.l., xliv pp. Two parts in one vol. 8vo, 19th-cent. red morocco-backed marbled boards, spine gilt, outer & lower edges uncut. Paris: Prault fils aîné, 1760.

A marvelous association copy of this important catalogue of the notable book and art collections formed by the Comte de Vence (1703-60), one of the richest collections of the period. “Ce bibliophile distingué s’était composé de livres, mais encore un riche cabinet d’objets d’art et d’antiquités, tels que tableux, estampes, dessins, bronzes antiques, etc., etc.”–Guigard, II, pp. 468-69.

This special copy belonged to the painter Jean Baptiste Descamps (1714-91), who was also the Comte de Vence’s art advisor, with Descamps’s signature on the title. It is printed on superior paper and contains two states of the engraved portrait of the Comte by Watelet after Cochin, the first issue before “armes” and the other “aux armes.”

The first part of the catalogue describes the books (1771 lots). Of special interest to the Comte was Provence: there are 225 titles covering its geography, history, government, law, and literature, as well as genealogies of illustrious local families. His library has been recently described as one of the most important in France at that time (see François Moureau, La Plume et le Plomb: Espaces de l’Imprimé et du Manuscrit au Siècle des Lumières, 2006).

The Comte de Vence’s collection of paintings, drawings and prints was considered to be among the foremost of his day, selected with the assistance of Descamps, the author of the influential La Vie des Peintres flamands, allemands et hollandaise (1753-1763), for which see especially Vol. II, p. 165 (“Le Cabinet de M. Le Comte de Vence”). It should be noted that the Comte de Vence was the dedicatee of Descamps’s book, reflecting their close relationship. The sale of art (247 lots) included major masterpieces by French and non-French artists (among the latter are Maes, Steenwyck the Elder, Breughel the Elder, and Rembrandt). This section of the catalogue has been priced in a contemporary hand (and with the occasional buyer’s name in a later hand).

Fine copy. I have not had this rare catalogue before. With the signature of Louis Clement de Ris (1820-82), purchased by him in 1864. He was a great art collector and served as a Conservateur at the Louvre and subsequently at Versailles.

❧ Lugt 1121. Decamps: Benezit, Vol. 4., p. 762.

Price: $3,750.00

Item ID: 3367