Finely engraved frontis. (mounted on a stub at an early date). xvi, ix-xii, 306, lv pp. Small 8vo (165 x 100 mm.), cont. mottled sheep, green morocco lettering-pieces on spine, spine gilt. Paris: P. Prault & J. Barrois, 1747.
The uncommon catalogue of one of Gersaint’s great auctions, with his customary erudite descriptions. The Vicomte de Fonspertuis (1669-1747), “despite a Jansenist education, entered whole-heartedly into the life of the royal court and won the favour of Philippe II, Duc d’Orléans. He developed his love of art through his maternal uncle, Du Vivier, who bequeathed him his remarkable collection, rich in curiosities, East Asian porcelain and paintings, which Angran augmented, not hesitating to resell in order to acquire the finest pieces. At his death, his collection was dispersed in sales between December 1747 and March 1748. It comprised fine landscapes, including works by Paul Bril, Jan Brueghel I, Claude Lorrain and François Boucher, and numerous Flemish and Dutch genre scenes by such masters as Adriaen van Ostade, Gerrit Dou and Gabriel Metsu, which reflect the contemporary predilection for the Northern painters. The collection included such outstanding works as Breughel’s Abraham Sacrificing Isaac (Geneva, Mus. A. & Hist.), Claude Lorrain’s Judgement of Paris (1645; Washington, DC, N.G.A.) and Metsu’s Woman Playing the Viola da Gamba (1663; San Francisco, CA, de Young Mem. Mus.).”–Oxford Art online.
This catalogue describes 618 lots of paintings, jewelry, furniture and decorative arts, porcelain, lacquer, sculpture, clocks, drawings, prints, and shells. Gersaint has contributed particularly extensive entries for a large number of paintings, drawings, and pieces of lacquer and porcelain. Lots 570-613 consist of fourteen drawers of shells.
Gersaint adds a substantial treatise on porcelain before the index (but intended to be bound before the porcelain lots). The expert explains his fascination with the material and recapitulates his research on Chinese and Indian porcelain production, concluding that the West owes a great debt to the two regions for refined methods. Gersaint compares porcelain with glass and other ceramics, and offers advice on pinpointing a piece’s place of fabrication. He cites Réaumur, praising him for his studies on porcelain production.
Fine copy with the famous frontispiece of collectors examining art in a cabinet, done by Cochin for Gersaint. With a useful index of artists at the end.
❧ Lugt 677 & 682. G. Glorieux, A L’Enseigne de Gersaint (2002), pp. 373-75.
Item ID: 6738