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Circle of Jean-Jacques Lagrenée (1739-1821)
Circle of Jean-Jacques Lagrenée (1739-1821)

Jean-Jacques Lagrenée working on the Composition of Lucius Albinius lending his Chariot to the Vestal Virgins fleeing Rome

Details
Circle of Jean-Jacques Lagrenée (1739-1821)
Jean-Jacques Lagrenée working on the Composition of Lucius Albinius lending his Chariot to the Vestal Virgins fleeing Rome
black chalk, watercolour heightened with white, the lower edge extended, watermark L
266 x 335 mm.
Provenance
Henri Lasquin, Paris, Drouot, 4-6 December 1919.
Georges Lasquin; Paris, 7-8 June 1928, lot 103.
Literature
D. Sutton, French Drawings of the Eighteenth Century, London, 1949, pl. LXIII.
M. Sandoz, Les Lagrenée II - Jean Jacques Lagrenée, Paris, 1972, pp. 348-9, illustrated.
Exhibited
Paris, Musée Carnavalet, La Vie parisienne au XVIIIème siècle, 1926, no. 181.

Lot Essay

Jean-Jacques Lagrenée is here depicted in one of the rooms of his lodgings either at the Louvre or in his house near Saint-Germain L'Auxerrois. He is seen sketching on a canvas the large composition of Lucius Albinius a picture commissioned by King Louis XVI for the Salon of 1777. Lagrenée had been among the few artiststo receive a commission from the Comte d'Angiviller to paint subjects from Ancient History in the hope of reviving La Grande Manière; Lagrenée reused on that occasion a composition which he had drawn and presented at the Salon two years earlier.
The present watercolour is one of the earliest depiction of an artist at work in his studio, a genre to become popular in the early years of the 19th Century. Although Lagrenée is not strictly working in his studio, he has lying at his feet the plaster cast of a head after the Antique and a drawing of it. He paints using a stick, a tool which was hardly ever needed before the picture was nearly completed. The artist is therefore shown in the most elegant light, wearing a hat.
It has been suggested that the present drawing was the work of a member of the artist's family rather than the artist himself.
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