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Description:

A Very Fine and Large French 18th Century Louis XV Whimsical Circular Oil on Canvas of Cherubs Hovering in the Clouds, former Property from the Private Collection of Jayne Wrightsman. The oranately painted open sky scene depicting nine cheerful winged putti disporting themselves playfully within white and grey clouds. The putti are nude and hold gardlands of flowers forming the letters 'A', 'R', 'P', 'M', and an interlocking 'C & M'. The significance of the letters has not been conclusively deciphered, but they likely refer to the names of the original owners of the Hôtel de Cabris, Jean Paul de Clapiers (175-1813) and Marquis de Cabris and his wife Louise de Mirabeau (d.1807). (Unframed). Circa: Paris, 1775.

The most prominent initials, the interlocking ‘C’ and ‘M’ in the center of the composition, could allude to the Marquis de Cabris himself, or to the union of the Cabris and Mirabeau families.; indeed, ‘M’ is executed in pink, a color consistently associated by family tradition with Louise de Mirabeau’s name. The painting probably decorated the central salon on the ground floor of the Hôtel de Cabris (now the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Grasse), in rue Mirabeau. It was replaced by a chandelier and plaster decorations in a renovation of the building around 1900. The painting was sold with the boiseries (subsequently gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Charles and Jayne Wrightsman; see F. J. B. Watson, The Wrightsman Collection, New York, 1970, III, pp. 32-39) in the E. M. Hodgkin sale, Paris on 29 May 1937.

The identity of the author of the ceiling has never been convincingly determined, but its style certainly suggests a dating of circa 1775. The names of Hughes Taraval (1729-1785) and Antoine-François Callet (1741-1823) have been suggested, and both artists trained with Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre (whose style is reflected in the Wrightsman painting) and are known to have painted ceiling decorations early in their careers. Perhaps the most intriguing name posited is that of Nicolas-Guy Brenet (1728-1792), the French history painter who trained with François Boucher (French, 1703-1770) , and whose brother, André Brenet, was the Parisian sculptor who was engaged by the Marquise de Cabris to obtain in Paris the boiseries, decorations and furnishings for the hôtel. Might it be that he engaged his brother to execute the ceiling painting, as Georges Vindry, curator of the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire proposed in the mid-1970s.

PROVENANCE

• Jean Paul de Clapiers, Marquis de Cabris (1750-1813), with E.M. Hodgkins by 1910.

• His sale; Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 29 May 1937 with Wildenstein, New York, by 1955.

• Charles and Jayne Wrightsman, New York, acquired from the above.

• Purchased from Wildenstein & Co. in 1957, this anonymous painting decorated the ceiling of a vestibule in the Wrightsman’s apartment at 820 Fifth Avenue. It was acquired along with boiserie paneling that had been carved around 1775 for the Hôtel de Cabris at Grasse, now installed in the Wrightsman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY (The Met).

Diameter: 63 1/2 inches (161.3 cm)

Ref.: A2483 - Lot 11331

About Jayne Kirkman Wrightsman

Jayne Kirkman Wrightsman (née Larkin; October 21, 1919 – April 20, 2019) was an American philanthropist, fine and decorative arts collector and widow of philanthropist and art collector Charles B. Wrightsman (1895–1986). She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1965. She was a resident and president of the co-op board at 820 Fifth Avenue. She was born in Michigan, and grew up in Los Angeles.

Beginning in 1952, she and her husband amassed the finest private collection in the US of the decorative arts of the ancien régime, ultimately donating many objects (comprising the Wrightsman Galleries) to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Jayne Wrightsman also served as a member of the Museum's 100th Anniversary Committeeand was elected to the board of trustees in 1975.

Wrightsman died on April 20, 2019, aged 99.

Sources: Wikipedia, The Met and Christie's New York



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For over thirty two years three decades Jan's & Company Fine French Antiques has been importing 18th, 19th and early 20th century European furnishings, fine art and decorative items for discriminating antique dealers, interior designers and collectors throughout the world. Our 24,000 square foot showrooms in Los Angeles, California are filled with furnishings acquired from some of Europe's most prestigious residences. Whether you are looking for an Empire Dining Room Suite, Baccarat Chandeliers, Belle Epoque Furnishings, Marble Sculptures, European Paintings, Fine Porcelain or Silver, a trip to Jan's & Company Fine French Antiques will be worth your while. Copyright © 1996 ~ 2012 - Jan's & Company Fine French Antiques, Inc. All Rights Reserved DISCLOSURE: The /images, logo, design, text, information and all material displayed on this site are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws and may not be printed, saved or reproduced except for personal use only. 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