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    Sale 11955

    The Exceptional Sale 2016

    7 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 333

    THE ANIMAL TAMERS
    A LOUIS XIV ‘GROTESQUE CHINOIS’ TAPESTRY

    MANUFACTURE ROYALE DE BEAUVAIS, UNDER THE DIRECTORSHIP OF PHILIPPE BEHAGLE (1684–1705), DESIGNED BY JEAN-BAPTISTE MONNOYER (1636–1699) AND JEAN I BERAIN (1640-1711), BETWEEN 1688 AND 1732

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    THE ANIMAL TAMERS
    A LOUIS XIV ‘GROTESQUE CHINOIS’ TAPESTRY
    MANUFACTURE ROYALE DE BEAUVAIS, UNDER THE DIRECTORSHIP OF PHILIPPE BEHAGLE (1684–1705), DESIGNED BY JEAN-BAPTISTE MONNOYER (1636–1699) AND JEAN I BERAIN (1640-1711), BETWEEN 1688 AND 1732
    Woven in silks and wools, depicting Animal Tamers from the series ‘Les Grotesques’, showing tripartite fantastical pavilions with drapery and floral arbors above, the left portico with a bull fighting two leopards, the central portico with two lion tamers and three lions, right portico with a figure and four hunting dogs, standing on a polished-stone terrace, all on a pale yellow tabac d'espagne ground, the borders with chinoiserie pagode figures, birds and squirrels within strap work, localised areas of restoration and reweaving, including the guilloche band along the top edge of the upper border, reduced in height along top edge of the field
    9 ft. 11 in. x 12 ft. 9 in. (303 x 390 cm.)


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    The Animal Tamers was one of the rarer woven subjects of the Beauvais Grotesques series. The scene in the left foreground, with a pair of leopards attacking a bull, constituted one of those optional lateral elements that were often omitted, despite its clear reference to 16th and early 17th century tapestries, that often celebrated the subject of animal combat. To collectors of Renaissance art and Baroque bronze statuettes, Monnoyer's choice and pose of these animals must have appeared particularly erudite, replicating not the more widely-known group of a lion attacking a bull, but a much rarer group by the Italian-Flemish sculptor, Giovanni Bologna (1529-1608), modelled with a leopard attacking a bull. How Monnoyer came to copy the stance of this model remains a mystery as only two examples of the statuette are now known. A tapestry with identical composition though differing borders, acquired in the early 19th century by Richard, 2nd Earl of Bantry, was sold at Christie's London, 22 November 1956, lot 139 (as part of a set divided across lots 137-142). Another tapestry with this subject was sold more recently at Christie's Paris, 21 June 2006, lot 252 (€180,000).

    Literature

    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
    M.J. Badin, La Manufacture de Tapisseries de Beauvais, Paris 1909, pp. 9-13.
    D. Boccara, Les Belles heures de la Tapisserie, Milan 1971, pp. 138-139.
    E. Standen, European Post-Medieval Tapestries and Related Hangings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1985, vol. II, pp. 441–458.
    J. Coural and C. Gastinel-Coural, Beauvais. Manufacture nationale de Tapisserie, Paris 1992, pp. 17-21.
    C. Bremer-David, ‘The Offering to Bacchus’, in French Tapestries & Textiles in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 1997, pp. 72-79.
    C. Bremer-David, Conundrum, Puzzles in the Grotesques Tapestry Series, Los Angeles, 2015, pp. 25 and 72-73.