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Peut-être offerte au fermier général Etienne Michel Bouret par Louis XV en 1769.
John Pollock; vente Sotheby's, Londres, 15 juin 1973, lot 25.
Galerie Perpitch, Paris.
M. Fenaille, Etat Général des Tapisseries de la Manufacture des Gobelins, Paris, 1903, pp. 371-398
C. Bremer-David, 'Le Cheval Raye: A French Tapestry Portraying Dutch Brazil', The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol. 22, 1994, pp. 21- 29
N. Forti-Grazzini, Il patrimonio artistico del Palazzo Quirinale, Gli Arazzi, Rome, 1994, vol. II, cats. 161-166, pp. 456-457
E. Hartkamp-Jonxis, European Tapestries in the Rijksmuseum, Zwolle, 2004, cat. 105, pp. 348-350
Post Lot Text
A LOUIS XIV EXOTIC TAPESTRY
GOBELINS, AFTER A PAINTING BY ALBERT ECKHOUT AND FRANS POST, POSSIBLY WOVEN IN 1720 BY JEAN LEFEBVRE FILS
Depicting "Le Roi Porté par Deux Maures", from the series "Les Anciennes Indes"
HISTORY OF THE SERIES
This magnificent tapestry originally formed part of a set of eight tapestries depicting the exotic nature and inhabitants of the Dutch colony in Brazil. Count John Maurice of Nassau-Siegen (d. 1679), the Dutch governor in Brazil between 1637 and 1644 and an official of the Dutch East Indies Company, was particularly interested in recording the 'wonders of the New World' and commissioned various artists, botanists and doctors to record the local flora, fauna and inhabitants. He invited Albert Eckhout (d. 1664) and Frans Post (d. 1680) to travel through Brazil between 1637 and 1644 on an expedition with him and collect sketches and make oil paintings of their views of the country. Eckhout focused on the figures and vegetation and Post on the landscapes. On his return to Europe in 1644, John Maurice asked the artists to prepare cartoons for a tapestry series from their sketches which they completed before 1652. He commissioned Maximiliaan van der Gucht (d. 1689) from Delft to weave a tapestry set for his cousin Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, and a second set for himself in 1667 (both now lost). He then presented to King Louis XIV of France 34 paintings and the eight cartoons for the series of 'Les Anciennes Indes' in 1679. An inventory of 1681 lists them as 'huit grand tableaux [...] représentant des figures d'hommes et de bêtes de grandeur naturelle, plusieurs plantes, fruits, oyseaux, animaux, poisons et paysages de Brésil'. Louis XIV was so impressed by the cartoons that he commissioned the Royal Gobelins workshops to produce tapestries to the designs in 1687 but not before he had Jean-Baptiste Belin de Fontenay (d. 1715), François Bonnemer (d. 1689), René-Antoine Houasse (d. 1710) and Jean Baptiste Monnoyer (d. 1699) retouch them.
The series met with great success and was officially woven at Gobelins eight times between 1687 and 1730, and also woven as unrecorded private commissions, of which at least 20 further individual panels survive. The borders of this tapestry are the first version used up to 1723. The first five sets were the Grandes Indes woven up to 1723, followed by three Petits Indes adapted by François Desportes (d. 1743). The first five sets consisted of the first tenture from the low looms (basse lisse) and in contre-partie which was supplied to the Garde Meuble as no. 158 on 4 June 1689 but disappeared by 1900, the second again from the low looms to the Garde Meuble as no. 161 by 1690 which remains there, the third from the high looms (haute lisse) which was given to Czar Peter the Great in 1717 and almost certainly burnt in the fire at the Winter Palace in 1837, the fourth from the low looms which was executed for the Grand Maître des Hospitaliers de Saint-Jean in Malta, Raymond de Perellos (d. 1720) by 1718 and which remains in Malta and the fifth from the high looms which was given by Louis XV to M. Bouret on 24 July 1769.
IDENTIFICATION OF THE SET
All of these five 'Grande Indes' sets were over 460 cm high but the offered lot, which only measures 373 cm. in height shows signs of having been reduced in size, thus making a definitive attribution impossible on that basis. The low loom tapestries were woven in reverse to the original designs while the offered lot is woven in the same direction as the cartoons, thus being woven on the much more expensive high looms (120 livres per square aune for the low looms while 225 for the high loom aune). It is thus possible that the offered lot was that woven between 1718 and 1725 to replace the set given to the Czar and ultimately given to M. Bouret, unless the tapestry formed part of an unrelated private commission. If the offered lot is from the fifth weaving, it was woven between 1718 and 1720 by Jean Lefebvre fils in the second high warp loom workshop of the Gobelins. The set remained at the Garde Meuble with annotations that it had been to Rome and Frankfurt but was ultimately given to Etienne Michel Bouret in 1769 with an avis by M. de Marigny: 'C'est avec plaisir, Monsieur, que j'ai à vous annoncer que Sa Majesté a voulu disposer en votre faveur du petit terrain attenant à l'Hôtel des Ambassadeurs extraordinaires, que vous désirez obtenir. Le Roi a bien voulu aussi vous faire don d'une tenture des Animaux des Indes de la Manufacture des Gobelins'.
ETIENNE MICHEL BOURET
Bouret (d. 1777) was born in Nantes in 1709 and was a protégé of the Duc de Choiseul. He became trésorier général de la Maison du Roi in 1738, Fermier General in the early 1740s and lieutenant général du gouvernement des villes et château de Corbeil in 1744. By 1752 he was also named administrateur des Postes and finally in 1769, the year he received the tapestry set, secrétaire de la Chambre et du Cabinet du Roi. He sealed his entry into the Royal circles by marrying his brother François Bouret d'Erigny to Madeleine Poisson de Malvoisin, a cousin of the marquise de Pompadour in 1750. His ruin came from his passion for architecture, building and real estate speculation which accumulated a debt of over one million livres and ultimately drove him to his suicide in 1777.