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Lot 4: - A Louis XIV Tapestry `Portière des Renommées', Gobelins, workshop of Jean Le Souet, after Charles le Brun, with the Royal coat-of-arms of France and Navarre circa 1693-1700

Sotheby's

July 8, 2008
London, United Kingdom

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Description

woven with the central Royal coat-of-arms of France (three fleur-de-lys on blue ground) and Navarre (open linked chains in design of escutcheon on red ground), the paired cartouches above a crowned `L', with cross palms, all within the collars of the Order of St. Michel (collar with `S' links and shells and pendant with St. Michael overthrowing the devil, Chivalric order established by Louis XI of France in 1469) and Order of St. Esprit (collar with fleur-de-lys, `H' for King Henry, military trophy group, all linked with flames, with a blue sash, and pendant with Maltese cross overlaid with a flying dove, Chivalric order founded by Henry III in 1578), set against a scrolling sculptural cartouche, surmounted by two balancing putti holding the Royal closed crown (post 1589), the grouping flanked by cornucopia wrapped with acanthus leaves and issuing demi-figures, personifying Fame, both with swathed drapery and wearing laurel wreaths, the right leftward facing profile figure is winged and blowing a long trumpet (symbolic of good repute), the other inward facing figure wearing stylised armour, both holding up floral swags issuing from floral medallions above, the lower section within the `c'-scrolls, encloses the end of the maces of the chancellery, and military trophies of standard, fasces, spears, swords, arrows and trophies of victory in the form of jewellery and elaborate gilt-metal luxury items, all within a narrow inner banded bead-and-reel and gadrooned border, shaped at the top and bottom with `c'-scrolls, the corner shaoed entablature with scrolling foliage on cream ground, and all surrounded by a narrow outer four-sided border of tied alternating sprigs of leaves of laurel (victory), oak (fidelity) and ivy (immortality) with central and corner copper coloured foliate medallions, with a narrow banded yellow and blue selvedge, the outer blue selvedge with the workshop mark, bottom right, I.LE.SOVET

Dimensions

approximately: 290.5cm. high, 234cm. wide; 9ft. 6in., 7ft. 8in.

Literature

Charissa Bremer-David, Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum - Decorative Arts, Malibu, California, 1997;
Guy Delmarcel, Flemish Tapestries, London, 1999, pp.238-239;
Maurice Fenaille, Etat general des tapisseries de la manufacture des Gobelins, Vol. II, Paris, 1903, pp.1-8;
N. Gasc and G. Mabille, The Nissim de Camondo Musuem, Paris, 1997, pg.94;
Heinrich Göbel, Die Wandteppiche, 1928, Part II, Vol.i, no.120;
Ebeltje Hartkamp-Jonxis and Hillie Smith, European Tapestries in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2004, pp.147-150;
Irina Novoselskaya, History of the Hermitage Collection of French Drawings, French Drawings and Paintings for the Hermitage, Poussin to Picasso, Exhibition Catalogue, Somerset House, London, 3υrd November 2001 - 3υrd March 2002, pp.78-79;
F.M. Ricci, Quelques chefs-d'oeuvre de La Collection Djahanguir Riahi, Paris, 2000, pp.16-19 (illustrated);
Edith Appleton Standen, European Post-Medieval Tapestries in the Metropolitan Museum, 1985, Vol. I, pp.361-364;
G. Van Der Kemp, 'Nouvelles Acquisitions,' Revue du Louvre, Paris 1970. 2nd trimester, pg.120.

Provenance

S.A.R. le duc de Vendôme, sold Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 4 December 1931, lot 115, one of a set of four portières of Fame (including two by Souet of which only one, this lot, is illustrated);
Jean Bloch, sold Ader Tajan Rheims, Palais Galliera, Paris, 13 June 1961, lot 146;
Llhamy Hussein Pacha, sold Ader Tajan, Monaco, 14 March 1993, lot 189;
Collection of Monsieur and Madame Riahi, Christie's, New York, 2υnd November 2000, lot 58;THE DUC DE VENDOME
Emmanuel d'Orléans (b.1872), grandson of the duc de Nemours and great-grandson of the last King of the French, Louis-Philippe I. He married Princesse Henriette of Belgium in Brussels and lived in France at Neuilly and Cannes, and in England at Belmont in Wimbledon, and in Austria. He was the heir to his father, the duc d'Alençon (1844-1910). This Fame portière is apparently not recorded in the inventory of tapestries belonging to King Louis-Philippe carried out in 1852. It is possible, therefore, that the duc de Vendôme either inherited it from his mother, born duchesse de Bavière or bought it. In the sale of furniture from the château de Langeais in 1886 there was a Fame portière of slightly smaller size (285 cm. high; 230 cm. wide), lot 765.

Notes

TAPESTRY DESIGN Charles Le Brun's design for the portiere with the Fouquet coat-of-arms, exists in a chalk and ink drawing in the Hermitage Collection which is illustrated in French Drawings and Paintings for the Hermitage, Poussin to Picasso, Exhibition Catalogue, Somerset House, London, 3υrd November 2001 - 3υrd March 2002, Irina Novoselskaya, History of the Hermitage Collection of French Drawings, pp.78-79, see fig. 1.The composition includes a central cartouche with the coat-of-arms, which for Fouquet was a squirrel, with two small putti entangled with ribbon bearing narrative (motto) and holding aloft a marquis' crown, flanked by two demi-figures issuing from horns of plenty/cornucopiae with acanthus leaves, the figures are facing in opposing directions, both hold up a floral swag, one represents Fidelity holding a key, and with a dog in attendance, the other figure representing Courage, is draped with a lion pelt and has a lion in attendance. The outer surrounding architectural sculptural design, and distinctive foliate border was a theme used in many of the later armorial portiere tapestries. Charissa Bremer-David, Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum - Decorative Arts, Malibu, California, 1997, pp.50-51, for the entry of a portière tapestry, of Char de Triomphe, Gobelins manufactory, 1715-1716, woven by workshop of Jean de la Croix, from a cartoon by Baudrain Yvart, after Charles Le Brun, and woven with the arms of France and Navarre, and with the original lining bearing an inscription: No. 194, Ports. Du Char/ 6: Sur 3: au9ne). de haut/ 2: au(ne) ½ de Cours over 10-6 six pieces 8 520., delivered to the Garde Meuble de la Couronne on 27th October 1717, see fig. 2. This portière was one of a set of four, the subjects of which were: La Renommée (Fame); the Char de Triomphe (Triumphal chariot); Mars and Le Lion (Mars and the Lion) and La Licorne (The lion and the Unicorn). The cartoons were painted by Baudrain Yvart, le père (1611-1690). TAPESTRY WORKSHOP In 1658 a tapestry manufactory was set up on the initiative of Nicolas Fouquet (1615-80), Superintendant of Finances and renowned patron of the arts, in Maincy, where he had a château (now known as Vaux-le-Vicomte), which was still in existence until the arrest of Fouquet under Louis XIV's orders in 1661. The workshop had the status of a privilege of weaving high warp tapestries and weavers from France and Flanders worked together. Charles Le Brun (1619-1690), as appointed director was commissioned to design various tapestries including a set of portières, which were rewoven in Maincy eleven times and on more occasions at a later date on the Gobelins looms, with modifications to the design and to the coat-of-arms used. The tapestry workshops installed at the Gobelins in 1662, were those of three high warp / haute lisse weaving workshops directed by the Jean Jans the elder (succeeded by his son, then by Kean Lefebvre and Henri Laurent), and a fourth low warp /basse lisse workshop directed by Jean de la Croix. Another low warp workshop was set up in 1667 by Jean-Baptiste Mozin and towards the end of the 17υth century a third low warp workshop was founded by Le Souet. There are existing tapestries from the series in various public institutions, such as Versailles and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, along with those in private collections, as between 1690 and 1727 there were up to seventy-two weavings, from the same unchanged designs. It was popular and used until the end of the 19υth century. TAPESTRY WEAVING The first weaving was woven at Maincy between 1659 and 1660, the second series was commissioned between 1690 and 1691 and consisted of twenty-four tapestries (279 cm. by 238cm. high). The third set was woven without gold thread, on the basse lisse loom. On 15 September 1693, Louis XIV commissioned a set of portières from the Royal Manufactory including twelve Fame portières. They were started in October 1693 in the Souet and De La Fraye workshops. The portières from these first two weavings are extremely close to this example, with only minimal differences in the dimensions. Only one tapestry had been completed in the Souet workshop before the closure of the Gobelins in 1694. Work on the eleven others was continued after the Gobelins reopened in December 1698 and completed in July 1699. At 2 aunes 8 high (297.5c.), and between 238 and 260 cm. wide, they were estimated at 120 per aune. They were therefore larger than the preceding portières. These were delivered soon after their completion on 15 April 1701 to the garde-meuble de la couronne under number 180: Portières de la Renommée -Une tenture de tapisserie de basse lisse,laine et soye, re levées d'or, fabrique de Paris, manufacture des Gobelins, dessin de Le Brun, ou sont représentées les armes de la France et de Navarre soustennues par une Renommée et une Flore, dans une bordure couleur de bronze, avec des oves et un feston de feuilles de laurier qui règne autour attaché à un cordon jaune et rouge; contenant ensemble 24 aunes de cours sur 2 ½ de hauteur. By the time of the 1789 inventory, only one portière remained in good condition, which was listed in Madame, la comtesse de Provence's bedroom. The others had disappeared, either being in storage or not documented, having possibly been destroyed because they were in poor condition or perhaps given away. The fourth weaving of the series were woven in wool and silk on the low warp loom the following year between 1699 and 1700. The height of the portières is the same as on the third set (2 aunes 8 -297.5 cm.). However, on three of those where the dimensions are known, the width is slightly greater, between 2 aunes 3 and 2 aunes 3 ½ (260cm.). Delivered straight away to the garde-meuble, they are listed in the 1714 inventory under number 184. By 1789 eight of them had been divided among the Royal palaces in Paris, Versailles, Marly and Choisy. The present tapestry being marked I. LE. SOVET, indicating that it was woven under the supervision of Jean Souet in the third low warp loom workshop and that it belongs to either the third or the fourth set. THE RECORDED FAME PORTIERES FROM THE JEAN SOUET WORKSHOP 1) A Fame portière with the arms of France and Navarre, mark of I. Le Souet (285 cm. high; 225 cm. wide). Provenance; Vicomtesse Vigier, sold Palais Galliera, Paris, 2-3 June 1970, lot 158; 2&3) Two portières from the duc de Vendôme Collection, sold Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 3rd December 1931, lot 115, signed by Le Souet. They include the present tapestry and another Fame portière with the arms of France and Navarre, circa 1695 (274 cm. high; 220.98 cm. wide), signed bottom right I. Le Souet; 4) A Fame portiere, Jacques Leon Stern, sold Parke Bernet, New York, 3-4 November 1950, lot 215. ADDITIONAL PORTIERES FROM THE 3RD OR 4TH WEAVING A Fame portière, with the arms of France and Navarre (285 cm. high; 225 cm. wide); located at the château de Vaux-le-Vicomte; A Fame portière, with the arms of France and Navarre, circa 1690-92, low warp, wool and silk; 282 cm. high; 222 cm. wide; sold anonymously at Palais Galliera, Paris, 3rd April 1969, lot 94 and now in the Musée National du Château de Versailles, (inv. no. V4641), and discussed in G. Van Der Kemp, 'Nouvelles Acquisitions,' Revue du Louvre, Paris 1970. 2nd trimester, pg.120. In addition a virtually identical weaving of this presently catalogued tapestry is recorded in a European Private Collection, and bears the signature of Mozin, in the lower right selvedge. COMPARATIVE TAPESTRIES In 1663, Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619 - 1683), on recommendation of Cardinal Mazarin, succeeded Fouquet as Superintendant fo Finances, and being involved with the creation of the Gobelins manufactory was appointed as the superintendent of buildings and in 1667, the Gobelins was officially established as the Manufacture Royale des Meubles de la Couronne which drew together the highly qualified and master weavers together with other workers from the decorative arts fields, and included the weavers from Maincy. Tapestry workshops under the crown workshops were now subjected to being under the sole tutelage of Charles Le Brun, first painter to the King, and appointed director of the factory of the furnishings for the crown. When in 1662 the Maincy manufactory was absorbed by the Gobelins, eleven portières centred by the arms of France and Navarre were on the looms and one hung at Vaux. The finished portieres, eight sets of France and Navarre coat-of-arms and eight crowns were woven to replace the Fouquet arms. Colbert commissioned a set of six armorial portieres in 1664, with his coat-of-arms, which were a modification of the design by Le Brun, for the portières à renommées, initially woven with the Royal coat-of-arms for Louis XIV at Maincy. The Colbert portieres replaced the demi-figures issuing from horns of plenty holding floral swags, with full standing figures in front of cornucopiae and holding drapery festoons. Lower corner motifs changed in different weavings, and Colbert changed the lion and dog to a cockerel and dog. Maurice Fenaille, Etat general des tapisseries de la manufacture des Gobelins, Vol. II, Paris, 1903, pp.1-8, illustrates facing pg.22, and notes the set of armorial portieres. A Colbert armorial has appeared on the market recently at Sotheby's, London, 31υst May 1996, as lot 32, and another two weavings from the series was offered at Christie's, London, 18υth May 1995, as lots 206 and 207. H. Göbel, Die Wandteppiche, 1928, Part II, Vol.i, no.120, notes a set of six armorials listed in the 1683 inventory of Colbert's effects, of which two were mentioned to have been in the possession of the Munich dealer Bernheimer, and which could possibly have been the two pieces sold at Christie's. See also Christie's, London, 2υnd April 1998, lot 206, for a portieres des Renommées, after Le Brun with the central coat-of-arms of Bardot di Bardi, Comte Magaloti, with full length classical female figures, one with the pelt of a lion worn as a helmet, and incorporating the motifs of the loyal dog and the cockerel. `CHANCELLERIE' AND RENOMMÉES TAPESTRIES Chancellerie and Renommées tapestries were always presents from the King to the high status officials, and in particularly chancelleries were presented to the Chancellor or the Keeper of the Seals, as the symbolism used is associated with their office. This tradition continued through the 18υth century, with the last set being completed on the looms in 1777. The arms of France and Navarre were united and incorporated within the collars of the Orders of St. Michel and St. Esprit under a closed crown in 1589. The first set of chancellerie tapestries given as a gift to the chancellor was a set of nine pieces given to the Michel Le Tellier in 1679, the set being represented by a known, though altered, piece from the set now in the Musée de Camondo, Paris (N. Gasc and G. Mabille, The Nissim de Camondo Musuem, Paris, 1997, pg.94), and an example was offered at Christie's, London, 14υth December 2000, as lot 124, which was woven with the Royal coat-of-arms and the collars of the orders of Saint Michel and Saint Esprit, on a fleur-de-lys ground without any figures. See Edith Appleton Standen, European Post-Medieval Tapestries in the Metropolitan Museum, 1985, Vol. I, pp.361-364, for a Chancellerie portiere, designed 1679-1700, and woven in the Gobelins workshop of Le Blond, with the central coat-of-arms of France and Navarre, and border inclusion of the arms of Germain-Louis Chauvelin, Keeper of Seals, with no inclusion of figures and for discussion of chancellerie tapestries. Louis-Phélypaux, Comte de Pontchartrain (1643-1727), Chancellor of France from 1699-1714, was given a chancellerie tapestry executed by Jean Lefebvre, between January and August 1701 and remained at the Château de Pontchartrain until 1902, when it was purchased by Lord Iveagh in Paris, and was sold at Christie's, Elveden, 22υnd May 1984, lot 1777, which incorporated the elements of the above chancellerie designs fo the arms and the chest of the seals, on a fleur-de-lys ground, interlaced `L's, and also included flanking seated figures of Bellona (Goddess of War), and Justice, with the additional full length winged figures holding up the drapery from the lambrequin and bow decorated canopy, the architectural plinths decorated with crossed classical motifs of the caduceus and the fasces. For another weaving of this tapestry, with the arms of Germain-Louis Chauvelin, see F.M. Ricci, Quelques chefs-d'oeuvre de La Collection Djahanguir Riahi, Paris, 2000, pp.76-77. Another armorial tapestry, with additional arms of a Dutch family, woven circa 1700 was offered at Phillips, De Pury and Luxembourg, New York, 5υth December 2001, as lot 85, and it included just two standing winged classically dressed male figures, one holding a laurel wreath, and the elaborate four-sided border woven with several military trophies and motifs including shields and helmets, and the corners with the Dutch coats-of-arms. Such tapestries were simultaneously woven at the Royal Beauvais Manufactory, and were also interpreted as Armorial tapestries and woven by the Brussels workshops, which were directly inspired by the designs of Le Brun's tapestries of Les Portières des Renommées and Les Portières de Mars, of 1659-1660, flanked by Fame and Flora (or another representation of Fame), and by Mars and Minerva respectively. For examples of the Flemish armorials see Guy Delmarcel, Flemish Tapestries, London, 1999, pp.238-239 and Ebeltje Hartkamp-Jonxis and Hillie Smith, European Tapestries in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2004, pp.147-150, for an armorial after designs by Daniel Marot, with the coats-of-arms of King William III of the Netherlands and Queen Mary Stuart II, and flanking figures of Mars and Minerva, from the Nationaal Museum Paleis Het Loo, Apeldorn.

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