A LOUIS XIV GOBELINS TAPESTRY
This lot has no reserve.
A LOUIS XIV GOBELINS TAPESTRY

CIRCA 1693, SIGNED I. LE. SOÜET, AFTER THE DESIGN BY CHARLES LE BRUN

Details
A LOUIS XIV GOBELINS TAPESTRY
Circa 1693, signed I. LE. SOÜET, after the design by Charles Le Brun
Woven in wools and silks with the Royal Arms of France and Navarre, above a palm-wrapped L and St. Esprit, the strapwork scrolled armorial cartouche surmounted by two scantily-clad winged putti holding aloft the Royal Crown and flanked by female figures emerging from cornucopiae and emblematic of Fame and Flora, garlanded with flowers, within an egg-and-dart molded shaped slip frame with scrolled acanthus spandrels, within a further border woven with oak leaves and vines and within a blue outer slip
114in. x 92in. (290.5cm. x 234cm.)
Provenance
S.A.R. le duc de Vendôme, sold Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, 4 December 1931, lot 115, one of a set of four portières of Fame (including two by Souet of which only one, this lot, is illustrated). Jean Bloch, sold Ader-Tajan Rheims, Palais Galliera, Paris, 13 June 1961, lot 146.
Ilhamy Hussein Pacha, sold Ader Tajan, Monaco, 14 March 1993, lot 189 (800,000 FFr.; $141,200).
Literature
F.M. Ricci, Quelques chefs-d'oeuvre de La Collection Djahanguir Riahi, Paris, 2000, pp.16-19 (illustrated).
Special notice

This lot has no reserve.

Lot Essay

THE HISTORY OF THE SERIES

NICOLAS FOUQUET

Nicolas Fouquet, Grand Argentier du Royaume and a remarkable patron of the Arts, commissioned a set of portières in 1659-1660 for his château at Vaux, now called Vaux-le-Vicomte, from his protegé Charles Le Brun. Le Brun's drawing for the cartoons for the Fame portières, now in the Hermitage Museum, Russia, is illustrated in I. Novosselskaya, Le Dessin Français du XVIIIe siècle dans les Collections du Musée de l'Ermitage, 1999, no.62. In 1659, Fouquet established a tapestry Manufactory in the village of Maincy, near Vaux to execute the tapestries, and this served the dual purpose of both embellishing his sumptuous house as well as giving much-needed employment to the village.

This portière was one of a set of four: portière de la Renommée (Fame), the Char de Triomphe (triumphal chariot), Mars and Le Lion et la Licorne (the Lion and the Unicorn). The cartoons were painted by Baudrain Yvart le père (1611-1690) and, as the name indicates, portières were hung in front of doors to stop drafts.

THE PORTIÈRE DE LA RENOMMEE

Under the aegis of Colbert, the initial model for the portières as adapted by the original authors of the cartoon, who presented it to be woven at the Gobelins. The portière depicts two female figures of Fame crowned with laurel emerging from the cornucopiae and supporting floral garlands: one winged figure with a trumpet and clothed in a tunic, the other in armour previously and erroneously called Flora. They flank the arms of France and Navarre within the sash of the orders of the Saint-Esprit and Saint-Louis headed by two putti supporting the Royal crown. The whole rests upon a martial trophy containing flags, weapons, fasce, a jar and brûle parfums. This added triumphal warrior theme was designed to seduce the young Louis XIV.

The portière, a timeless model, remained popular up until the end of the 19th century. It was particularly popular during the reign of Louis XIV, being woven unchanged seventy-two times between 1690 and 1727.

The first weaving was woven at Maincy, the second commissioned between 1690 and 1691 consisted of 24 tapestries measuring 279 cm. by 238cm. high.

The third set was woven without gold thread, on the basse lisse loom.

On 15 September 1693, Louis XIV comissioned a set of portières from the Royal Manufactory including twelve Fame portières. They were started in October 1693 in the Souet and De La Fraye workshops.

The portières from these two weavings are extremely close to this one, with only minimal differences in dimensions.

Only one tapestry had been completed in the Souet workshop before the closure of the Gobelins in 1694. Work on the eleven others was continued after the Gobelins reopened in December 1698 and completed in July 1699. At 2 aunes 8 high (297.5c.) and between 238 and 260 cm. wide, they were estimated at 120 per aune. They were therefore larger than the preceding portières.

These were delivered soon after their completion on 15 April 1701 to the Garde Meuble de la couronne under number 180:

180. Portières de la Renommée - Une tenture de tapisserie de basse lisse, laine et soye, relevées d'or, fabrique de Paris, manufacture des Gobelins, dessin de Le Brun, où sont représentées les armes de la France et de Navarre soustennues par une Renommée et une flore, dans une bordure couleur de bronze, avec des oves et un feston de feuilles de laurier qui règne autour attaché à un cordon jaune et rouge ; contenant ensemble 24 aunes de cours sur 2½ de hauteur.

By the time of the 1789 inventory, only one portière remained in good condition, which was listed in Madame, la comtesse de Provence's bedroom. The others had disappeared, either being in storage or not listed, having possibly been destroyed because they were in poor condition or perhaps given away.

THE FOURTH WEAVING ON A LOW WARP LOOM, IN WOOL AND SILK

These tapestries are extremely close to the third weaving. They were woven in wool and silk on the low warp loom the following year between 1699 and 1700.
The height of the portières is the same as on the third set (2 aunes 8 - 297.5 cm.). However, on three of those where the dimensions are known, the width is slightly greater, between 2 aunes 3 and 2 aunes 3½ (260cm.). Delivered straight away to the garde-meuble, they are listed in the 1714 inventory under number 184.

By 1789 eight of them had been divided among the Royal palaces in Paris, Versailles, Marly and Choisy.

This tapestry is marked I. LE. SOVET, indicating that it was woven under the supervision of Jean Souet in the third low warp loom workshop and that it belongs to either the third or the fourth set.

A SUMMARY OF THE FAME PORTIÈRES FROM THE JEAN SOUET WORKSHOP

These comprise:-
1-Fame portière with the arms of France and Navarre, mark of I. Le Souet 285 cm. high; 225 cm. wide. Provenance; Vicomtesse Vigier, sold Palais Galliera, Paris, 2-3 June 1970, lot 158.

2&3- Two portières from the duc de Vendôme's collection, sold Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 3 December 1931, lot 115 (ill.) are signed by Le Souet. These comprise
-This tapestry
-and the Fame portière with the arms of France and Navarre, signed bottom right I. Le Souet, circa 1695
274 cm. high; 220.98 cm. wide.

4-Jacques Léon Stern, sold Parke Bernet, New York, 3-4 November 1950, lot 215 (ill).

OTHER PORTIÈRES FROM THE 3RD OR 4TH WEAVING

A-Fame portière, with the arms of France and Navarre 285 cm. high; 225 cm. wide; at the château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

B-Fame portière, with the arms of France and Navarre, circa 1690-92, low warp, wool and silk; 282 cm. high; 222 cm. wide; sold anonymously at Palais Galliera, Paris, 3 April 1969, lot 94 and now in the Musée National du Château de Versailles, inv. no. V4641. This is discussed in G. Van Der Kemp, 'Nouvelles Acquisition,' Revue du Louvre, Paris 1970. - 2nd trimester, p. 120.


THE DUC DE VENDÔME

Emmanuel d'Orléans, grandson of the duc de Nemours and great grandson of the last King of the French, Louis Philippe I, was born in 1872. He married Princesse Henriette of Belgium in Brussels and lived in France at Neuilly and Cannes, in England at Belmont in Wimbledon, and in Austria. He was the heir to his father, the duc d'Alençon (1844-1910).

This Fame portière is apparently not recorded in the inventory of tapestries belonging to King Louis-Philippe carried out in 1852. It is possible, therefore, that the duc de Vendôme either inherited it from his mother, born duchesse de Bavière or bought it. In the sale of furniture from the château de Langeais in 1886 was a Fame portière of slightly smaller size (285 cm. high; 230 cm. wide), lot 765.

;

More from MAGNIFICENT FRENCH FURNITURE

View All
View All