Supplied by Lebrun

Catalogue d’une très-belle Collection de Tableaux de différens grands Maîtres des trois Ecoles, rassemblés par un Artiste: Dont la Vente se fera le Lundi 11 Janvier 1773, & jours suivans…Par Fr. Basan.

30 pp. 8vo (180 x 115 mm.), 19th-century calf-backed paste-paper boards (spine rubbed), spine gilt. Paris: Basan, 1773.

A quite scarce sale catalogue, which very possibly presents a number of the earliest paintings imported by the emerging expert Jean Baptiste Pierre Lebrun (1748-1813), from the Low Countries. Lugt records the consigners as “Favre, peintre à gouache” and “Lebrun.” “Favre” is also noted in this copy on the page facing the title-page. Under the auspices of Basan (1723-97), one of the pre-eminent dealers of the time, Lebrun likely consigned pieces that he had acquired on a buying trip. Basan writes in the preface (in trans.): “The Artist who offers to the public the paintings for which I give details afterwards has just made a voyage to Holland and Flanders, where he purchased the mentioned paintings, and desiring to rid himself of them all, decided to make an auction of them…” Lebrun specialized in Northern Old Masters and sought to revive underappreciated and forgotten artists, such as Vermeer and Holbein. It should also be added that, according to a list of his public sales printed in 1784, Lebrun organized auctions in 1772 and 1774, but not 1773, the year of this auction.

The present catalogue describes 91 lots of paintings and six lots of bronze sculpture. The paintings include work by Dow, Solimena, Metsu, Frans van Mieris, C. Netscher, Ter Borch, Lairesse, Rembrandt, Rubens, Jordaens, A. van Ostade, Brouwer, N. Berghem, J. Steen, Wouwerman, A. van de Velde, Asselijn, Bakhuizen, Wijnants, C. Poelemburg, Ruysdael, Vermeer (here “Vander-Meer”), F. Hals, S. Bourdon, F. Boucher, J. Vernet, Fragonard, etc. Each lot is presented with measurements and a concise description of the contents. Lebrun’s preference for Northern paintings and expertise shine through as one reads the descriptions.

Very good copy, with no example in North America. Engraved bookplates of Louis de la Forets, comte d’Armaille, and [H]enry [Pannier] on the front paste-down.

❧ Lugt 2097. Francis Haskell, Rediscoveries in Art: Some Aspects of Taste, Fashion & Collecting in England & France (1976), p. 21–“With hindsight we can see that Lebrun was doing something whose implications were even more revolutionary than he himself probably realized. He was the first connoisseur to break with the prevailing habit of trying to attribute as many pictures as possible to the great and established names and to insist instead on the value of rarity and unfamiliarity…”.

Price: $2,500.00

Item ID: 6595