Louis-Jean Desprez (Auxerre 1743-1804 Stockholm)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more FROM THE COLLECTION OF JEAN BONNA
Louis-Jean Desprez (Auxerre 1743-1804 Stockholm)

The Entrance to Hell (design for Orphée et Eurydice by Christoph Willibald Gluck)

Details
Louis-Jean Desprez (Auxerre 1743-1804 Stockholm)
The Entrance to Hell (design for Orphée et Eurydice by Christoph Willibald Gluck)
pen and black ink and watercolour
17 ½ x 23 1/8 in. (44.3 x 58.6 cm)
Provenance
with Galerie Jean-Marie Le Fell, Paris.
Literature
N. Strasser, Dessins français du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle. Collection Jean Bonna, Geneva, 2016, no. 90, ill.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Lot Essay

This extraordinarily inventive sheet seems to be the only one to have survived from Desprez’s designs for a production at the Swedish court of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice (Act 2, Scene 1). Gluck himself had produced the French version in 1773 of the Italian prototype, Orfeo ed Euridice, first performed in Vienna in 1762 and an instant success, with a transformative effect on future opera composition. The first night at Drottningholm took place on 11 May 1786, where Desprez’s designs were not well received. The lines of columns, variously composed of intertwined monsters, the capitals embellished with snakes and other fantastical creatures, led to a domed entrance guarded by a winged dragon with gaping mouth and scaly body.

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