A “Vulgar” Collector

Catalogue d’une belle Collection de Tableaux des Ecoles d’Italie, de Flandres, de Hollande et de France; Dessins, Miniatures, Emaux par Petitot, Figures de terre cuite, d’ivoire, de marbre & de bronze, Vases & Colonnes de porphyre; Agathes & autres matieres précieuses; Tables rares, riches meubles de Boule, de Laques, & autres Objets de curiosité venans du Cabinet de M. Le Baron de Saint J*** [written in cont. manuscript]: “ulien.” Par J.B.P. Le Brun, Peintre. La Vente s’en fera le Lundi 21 Juin 1784, & jours suivans…

70 pp. 8vo (190 x 125 mm.), late 19th-century brown morocco-backed marbled boards, signed “A. Knecht” (tail of spine a trifle rubbed), title on spine. Paris: Lebrun, 1784.

The very rare auction catalogue, fully priced in a contemporary hand, detailing the impressive and eclectic collection belonging to Saint Julien (1715-?95), man of letters and author of several books on the arts. This is the first of three sales attributed by various sources to Saint Julien (see also Lugt 3830 & 4300). Patrick Michel refers to him as one of the leading collectors of paintings in the 1770s, albeit with taste (goût canaille) characteristic of the financiers-collectionneurs desiring “lusty” paintings. In the foreword, Lebrun lauds the collector’s taste in French paintings as well as the variety of fine decorative ornaments. He also explains that although important painting sales are normally held in the winter, they chose the summer in order to attract collectors from abroad.

This catalogue describes 237 lots in all, with 89 paintings (by Correggio, Veronese, Goltzius, Michaux, Fragonard, Watteau, F. Boucher, de Troy, Le Nain, Rembrandt, Lairesse, van Dyck, Ruysdael, Greuze, Chardin, etc.) and 32 miniatures and drawings. Lot 19 is Rembrandt’s portrait of Lieven Willemsz van Coppenol (now Metropolitan Museum of Art) and was bought-in. This sale also offered ornate pieces of furniture, enamels crafted by Petitot, ceramics, and sculpture, many of which are thoroughly described. Each lot is presented with measurements.

Fine copy; WorldCat locates no example in North America. Title-page a little foxed. Engraved bookplate of G[eorges] P[annier], the Parisian art dealer (1853-1944) on the front paste-down. Stamp of the Bibliothèque Heim on verso of title. Two contemporary manuscript provenance notes on p. 11.

❧ Lugt 3749. Blanc, Le Trésor de la Curiosité, Vol. 2, pp. 95-96. P. Michel, Le Commerce du tableau à Paris dans la seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle, pp. 270-71. N.B.G., Vol. 43, cols. 40-41 (Saint Julien).

Price: $2,500.00

Item ID: 6604