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Jean Raoux (Montpellier 1677-1734 Paris)
Jean Raoux (Montpellier 1677-1734 Paris)

Jeune fille faisant manger des oiseaux

Jean Raoux (Montpellier 1677-1734 Paris)
Jeune fille faisant manger des oiseaux
oil on canvas
31 7/8 x 26 in. (81 x 66 cm.)
General Oswald Ball, England.
with Leger & Son, London, by 1937, where purchased by the present owner.
M. Hilaire and O. Zeder, Jean Raoux: un peintre sous la régence, 1677-1734, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 2009, pp.128-129, 196, possibly the painting refered to under no. 28.

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Lot Essay

The catalogue from the Jean du Barry sale in 1774 lists two paintings by Jean Raoux -- Jeune fille faisant voler un oiseau (signed and dated 1717, oil on canvas, 45¼ x 34 5/8 inches; now, Sarasota, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art) and Jeune fille faisant manger des oiseaux. The painting now in the Ringling Museum was purchased at that sale by the art dealer Jean Baptiste Lebrun (for 360 livres) as, presumably, was its pendant. In the 1778 Silvestre sale another pair matching this description by Raoux appeared, and they are considered to be versions of the paintings in the Barry sale (op. cit., p. 128). It is likely that the present painting is the lost pendant to the Ringling picture. Comparison with Chéreau's engraving indicates that this painting has been reduced, which would explain the variance in size between the two works.

The association between young birds and carnal love has been a theme in art since Antiquity. Raoux drew from seventeenth-century sources such as Frans van Mieris' A woman feeding a parrot (National Gallery, London) for his depiction of this subject. A young woman amusing herself with her captive bird is akin to playing with one's lover and can be interpreted as a lesson in seduction.

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