Jean-Baptiste ISABEY (1767-1855) Project... - Lot 24 - Daguerre

Lot 24
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Jean-Baptiste ISABEY (1767-1855) Project... - Lot 24 - Daguerre
Jean-Baptiste ISABEY (1767-1855) Project for Sèvres: the table of the imperial family, 1811 Watercolor gouache, pen and black ink. Round cut-out form. D. 35,5 cm Bibliography : Basily-Callimaki, J.-B. Isabey, his life, his time, 1767-1855, followed by the catalog of the work engraved by and after Isabey, Paris, 1909, p.254. Tamara Préaud, "Isabey à la manufacture de Sèvres", in Jean-Baptiste Isabey (1767-1855), portraitist of Europe, exhibition catalog, Rueil-Malmaison, Nancy, 2005, p. 70. Related work: Jean-Baptiste Isabey, projet de secrétaire de la famille impériale, watercolor and ink on paper, Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres. The imperial manufactory of Sèvres knew under the First Empire a period of exceptional development thanks to the patronage of the Emperor who, always concerned with the influence of France, made it a a propaganda tool of the first rank. Pedestal tables, the most important piece of furniture, were exclusively ordered by the Emperor. Of the six commissioned during the Empire, four were ordered by Napoleon on April 21, 1806: the imperial family table, never finished. the imperial family table, never finished; the one called "of the marshals", delivered in October 1810 and kept at Malmaison; a third one decorated with the great captains of antiquity, completed in 1812, now in the British royal collections; finally a pedestal table with the main antique statues of the Napoleon, a piece of furniture that was completed under Louis XVIII after having been extensively modified. The table of the imperial family, the first one ordered by the by the Emperor, the most important in size and price, must show the imperial couple in its center, surrounded members of the family. Numerous documents preserved in the Archives of the Manufacture and in the Archives Nationales make it possible to reconstitute this order. Alexandre Brongniart, director of the of the imperial manufactory of Sèvres and master of work of the ambitious project, wishes first of all to make to represent a single scene on a circular plate of at least one meter in diameter. He addresses for it to Louis-Léopold Boilly, who made three wash sketches sketches, which are now kept in private collections. private collections. The difficulties encountered by the painter to get resembling portraits make him give up the project him to give up the project. Napoleon's divorce in April 1810 put the project of the table. The birth of the king of Rome in March 1811 revives the interest of the Emperor. The difficulties encountered by the factory to produce a very large to produce a very large plate of porcelain perfectly flat and without defect make on the other hand give up Brongniart to the idea to make reproduce a scene single scene on the plate. He preferred the imperial couple in a smaller central scene, surrounded by the members of the members of the family in medallions. In place of the table, Brongniart proposed a secretary to Napoleon. As for the table, the piece of furniture must receive gilded bronzes made by Thomire and the face must be completely be completely covered with porcelain. Brongniart then turns to Jean-Baptiste Isabey, who has just finished the paintings of the table of the marshals. For a long time close to the imperial family the imperial family, first painter of the Chamber of the of the Empress, painter of the foreign relations, draftsman of the Cabinet of the Grand Chamberlain, painter of the Sèvres factory and the imperial theaters, chief decorator of the Opera, the miniaturist could both paint the preparatory drawing and the porcelain plates. porcelain plates. The secretary's project did not suit Napoleon who reiterates his wish to see a pedestal table made. This time Brongniart does not waste time and defines with Isabey a project of table of which the miniaturist completes the preparatory sketch in September. The drawing that we present is certainly the drawing which was presented to the Emperor on November 20, 1811 and which was approved. We know that this drawing represented the and that it was framed. On the drawing of the secretary the official mention "by the imperial manufacture of by the imperial porcelain factory of Sevres". It is not known whether whether an inscription also appeared on the drawing of the pedestal table. Probably originally square in shape, It was cut along the perimeter later on. Its design remains very close to that of the secretary. We the same portraits, slightly enlarged. It it is possible that the ornamental part was realized by an by an artist from Sèvres, possibly Brongniart, Isabey reserved the portraits for himself. In the center are Napoleon and Marie-Louise in the large
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