Description & Technical information

Red chalk, with framing lines in red chalk.
Laid down.

The present sheet is a study for a print by By Elise-Caroline Liottier published in Cauvet’s 'Receuil d’ornemens à l’usage des jeunes artistes qui se destinent à la décoration des bâtiments', published in Paris in 1777 with a dedication to ‘Monsieur’, the brother of King Louis XVI. This was part of a large group of over twenty drawings by Cauvet, most of which were studies for the 'Receuil d’ornemens', formerly in the collection of Martine-Marie-Pol de Béhague, the Comtesse de Béarn (1869-1939), and dispersed at auction in Paris in 1995.
A related red chalk drawing of an ornamental panel by Cauvet, depicting Cupid Gardeners (Les amours jardiniers) and also engraved for the Receuil d’ornemens, shared the same provenance as the present sheet and is now in Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. Likewise from the Béhague collection are two similar drawings by Cauvet for boiseriepanels – one of Venus and Cupid and the other of A Nymph with a Vase of Flowers on her Head– which appeared at auction in 1995 and 2007 and are today in a private American collection.
Among other comparable drawings by Cauvet is a similar study for a vertical panel, drawn in red and black chalk, in the collection of the Kunstbibliothek in Berlin, and another arabesque design for a carved boiserie panel, in red chalk, in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York.

Date:  1777
Period:  1750-1850, 18th century
Origin:  France
Medium: Red chalk
Dimensions: 47.1 x 19.8 cm (18¹/₂ x 7³/₄ inches)
Provenance: Martine-Marie-Pol de Béhague, Comtesse de Béarn, Paris
Thence by descent until 1995
Sale (‘Ancienne collection de la Comtesse de Béhague’), Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 29 November 1995, part of lot 107
Didier Aaron, Inc., New York, in 1996
Private collection. 
Literature: Gilles Cauvet, Recueil d’ornemens à l’usage des jeunes artistes qui se destinent à la decoration des bâtiments, Paris, 1776, p.7; Horace Wood Brock, Martin P. Levy and Clifford S. Ackley, Splendor and Elegance: European Decorative Arts and Drawings from the Horace Wood Brock Collection, exhibition catalogue, Boston, 2009, p.159, no.154, illustrated p.145.
Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints