Pierre-Jacques Cazes (Paris 1676-1754)
Pierre-Jacques Cazes (Paris 1676-1754)

The Birth of Venus

Pierre-Jacques Cazes (Paris 1676-1754)
The Birth of Venus
oil on canvas
51¼ x 76½ in. (130.2 x 194.3 cm.)
Madame de Pompadour, for whom painted at a cost of 3,000 livres, by whom given to her brother
Marquis de Marigny.
Jacques-Joseph de Boussairolles, before 1803; thence by descent in the family and consigned to the following sale,
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 22 May 1997, lot 6 ($35,650).
J.-J. de Boussairolles, L'État de tableaux, n.d., no. 24.
A. Chevalier, La collection de tableaux de Jacques-Joseph de Boussairolles 1741-1814, manuscript of masters thesis, Sorbonne-Paris, IV 1984, p. 2, no. 6, pl. 6.

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Lot Essay

Cazes submitted the primary version of this composition to the Concours de Peintures de 1727, the competition organized by the Bâtiments du Roi intended to stimulate creativity and higher standards among French painters; first prize was shared by Jean-François de Troy and François Lemoyne. Cazes's original painting is probably lost; however, several autograph replicas of it are known, including a version in the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle and another in a private collection, Italy (reproduced in The Burlington Magazine, December 1973, p. XXXIV). The present version is of superb quality and distinguished provenance: it was ordered by the Madame de Pompadour, the maîtresse en titre of Louis XV, as a gift to her brother the Marquis de Marigny, surveyor of the King's buildings; she paid Cazes the considerable sum of 3000 livres for the picture. It was acquired from Marigny's collection by the collector Jacques-Joseph de Boussairolles (1741-1814) and remained the property of his descendants until 1997.

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