Imperial coat-of-arms vignette on title. xii, 28 pp. 8vo (215 x 132 mm.), late 19th-century blue sheep backed-marbled boards (upper & lower joints split but holding), title on spine. Paris: L’Auteur, 1809.
The large-paper version of this unusually finely printed auction catalogue detailing the personal collection of a history painter who was reçu by the Académie Royale in 1761. Belle (1722-1806), a pupil of François Lemoyne, worked at the Gobelins manufactory from 1755, where he adapted pictures by his contemporaries as well as his own designs into painted tapestry cartoons. His lengthy career saw him commissioned by the Comte d’Angiviller to design a tapestry triptych in celebration of the Palais de Justice; subsequently, Revolutionary officials requested that he transform the triptych into Republican allegories. The resulting canvases, Allegory of the Republic and Allegory of the Revolution (now Louvre), “display the classicizing yet dynamic characteristics that Belle could achieve in his compositions”–Oxford Art Online.
Regnault-Delalande (1762-1824), this auction’s expert, provides an insightful biographical notice for Belle at the beginning of the catalogue. Most collectors whose collections were entrusted to Regnault-Delalande at this time did not have the honor of such lengthy biographies in auction catalogues. The present catalogue is also well-printed on large and fine wove paper. Another edition of this catalogue, on mediocre paper, was issued without the title-page vignette and opening biography.
181 lots of paintings, drawings, prints, books, and curiosities. It describes paintings by A. S. Belle (the artist’s father), Belle himself, Chardin, Guercino, C. de la Fosse, La Hyre, Le Brun, F. Lemoyne, Mignard, J. & C. Parrocel, Subleyras, Vien, etc. We also find drawings by Michelangelo, Drouais, L. Giordano, Maratti, Raphael, Parmigianino, etc.; and prints by Piranesi, Peyron, S. Bourdon, Edelinck, Earlom, Ingouf, Jordaens, Lairesse, Le Clerc, Strange, etc. Among the books, there is Piranesi’s Opere Varie (1750), the important works on perspective and art history, and the 1561 French edition of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.
A fine copy of this exceptionally well-produced auction catalogue. With the engraved bookplate of G[eorges] P[annier] (1853-1944), art dealer and collector of early art auction catalogues with his twin Henry, on the inside of the upper cover, and the stamp of the Bbliothèque Heim on verso of title.
❧ Lugt 7504. Oxford Art Online. C. Blanc, Le Trésor de la curiositè… (1857-8), Vol. II, pp. 249-50.
Item ID: 7495