04 février 2018

Simon Vouet (Paris 1590 - 1649),


Lot 23. Simon Vouet (Paris 1590 - 1649), Portrait of a gentleman, bust-length, in a painted oval, oil on canvas, 30 1/4  by 23 3/4  in.; 76.6 by 60.2 cm. Estimate 400,000 — 600,000 USD. Lot sold 435,000 USD. Photo: Sotheby's.

ProvenanceCount Czernin, Vienna;
With Galerie Sanct Lucas, Vienna;
With Alfred Brod Gallery, London;
There acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Henry H. Weldon. 

ExhibitedProvidence, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Northern Baroque Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Henry H. Weldon, 15 April - 7 June 1964, no. 28;
New York, Finch College Museum of Art, The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Henry H. Weldon, 11 May - 30 June 1966, no. 45;
University of Maryland Art Gallery, Simon Vouet 1590-1649, February-March 1971, no. 14;
The Cleveland Museum of Art, Caravaggio and His Followers, 30 October 1971 - 2 January 1972, no. 74;
New Orleans Museum of Art, In the Eye of the Beholder: Northern Baroque Paintings from the Collection of Henry H. Weldon, 13 September - 2 November 1997, no. 67;
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, on loan, 2011 - 2017. 

LiteratureJ. deH. Weldon, The Male Portraits of Simon Vouet, unpublished dissertation, New York, pp. 23-24, cat. no. 12;
R.E. Spear, Caravaggio and His Followers, exhibition catalogue, Cleveland 1971, p. 189, cat. no. 74, reproduced p. 188;
N.T. Minty, In the Eye of the Beholder: Northern Baroque Paintings from the Collection of Henry H. Weldon, exhibition catalogue, New Orleans 1997, cat. no. 67.

NoteIncluded in the landmark 1971 exhibition in Cleveland, Caravaggio and His Followers, this painting dates from Vouet's Italian period and was likely completed after his inital stay in Rome but before his self-portrait of circa 1627, now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon.  Spear (see Literature) gives it a possible dating of 1622-25, as Vouet's handling of the impasto in the ruff is freer than in his works of the later 1620s, though less vigorous than in his earlier paintings from his stays in Arles, Braunschweig and Rome. It has also been suggested that the portrait was completed a bit later, circa 1625-1627, during his final months in Italy.

One of the most important and influential French artists of the 17th century, Simon Vouet was born in Paris but traveled from an early age.  He was in England by the age of fourteen and spent time painting in Constantinople in 1611-12.  The following year he moved to Italy, and though he spent time in Venice, Naples, Bologna, Milan and Florence, it was in Rome where his career flourished.  He received a pension from King Louis XIII and remained in Italy for fourteen years, absorbing the influences of the Caravaggisti as well as the more classicizing styles of the Carracci and Guido Reni.  Upon returning to Paris in 1627, Vouet became the Premier peintre du Roi, a title he held until his death in 1649. His influence on French painting in the 17th century cannot be overstated: he is credited with brining the Italian Baroque to France, where it captured the attention of a whole new generation of artists. 

While the identity of the sitter is unknown, Vouet captures the man with a profound empathy and spirit.  His heavy eyelids and and strong cheekbones are emphasized by the dramatic lighting, evidence of the continued popularity of Caravaggism in Rome.

Sotheby's. The Otto Naumann Sale, New York, 31 janv. 2018 

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