François-Albert STIÉMART (Douai 1680 – 1740 Paris)
Allegory of summer
Oil on canvas (relined), 93,5 x 80,5 cm
- Private collection
François Albert STIÉMART, artist at the service of Louis XIV and Louis XV, was
an academic painter who, despite his significant activity, remains little-known.
Circa 1701, he assumed custody of the king's plans and paintings. His activity consisted of following the inventories, movements, installation of paintings from the royal collections and, on occasion, restoring them.
From 1704, he reproduced the paintings of which Louis XIV wished to have replicas.
Circa 1713/19 at the request of R. de Cotte, he worked with Pierre Josse-Perrot on the ceilings’ decoration of the Count of Toulouse's hotel in Paris, we owe him drawings intended for this decoration. Appointed general superintendent of buildings in 1716, François STIÉMART was received by the Academie royale de Peinture et Sculpture in June 28th 1720 as a portrait painter. His reception piece was a copy of a Portrait of Louis XV after Hyacinthe Rigaud. He carried out an important activity as copyist of royal paintings and portraits. Between 1716 and 1730, he made more than 300 copies.
Circa 1724/26 he worked for the Hôtel du Grand-Maître in Versailles and participated in the decoration of the gallery on the window side (joint
contributions with Pierre-Jacques CAZES, Henri-Antoine de FAVANNE, Louis
GALLOCHE, Charles-Antoine HÉRAULT, François MANSART, Jean-Baptiste OUDRY, Jean RESTOUT and François de TROY).
In 1730, he removed from the queen's cabinet "130 small miniature paintings" and had them taken to the Cabinet of the Superintendence (AN, O1 19348, file 14, documents 8, memory from July 12 to October 20, 1730): the decor of the cabinet then underwent further modifications.
Directly linked to our painting, STIÉMART also delivered a series of the four seasons after Louis II de BOULOGNE for the dauphin's apartment in Marly. Two of these works, "The summer" and "The Autumn", recently restored, were deposited at the Marly Museum in 1985 (deposit of the Louvre Museum, inv. 2790).
Our painting can also be compared to a series of four overdoors representing the four seasons, painted circa 1701/1720 for the Hôtel de Chaulnes in Paris (which has hosted the Academy of Architecture since 1969) , probably for the anteroom of the ground floor apartment overlooking the garden. This series represents the current decor of the corner living room, known as the Grande Chambre located on the first floor of the Hôtel de Chaulnes with a view
of the Place des Vosges.
Our work turns out to be by the same hand as the series of the Hôtel de Chaulnes (possibly executed in the same period as the work undertaken by STIÉMART for the Hôtel du Comte de Toulouse), but probably executed before to the paintings in the museum of the Royal Domain of Marly. Our painting is to be put in direct relation with one of them representing "The Summer". The paintings in the Hôtel de Chaulnes probably date from the purchase of the hotel by Jean-Aymard de Nicolaï, Marquis de Goussainville (1658-1737), and the transformations that followed, around 1701/1720. The Hôtel de Chaulnes circa 1650-55, with its quantity of singularities, all rare, was the admiration of everyone and even the King who sometimes came there (Henri Sauval, Histoire et recherche des antiquités de la ville de Paris, ed. posthume, Paris 1724, t. II, p. 127). The beautiful hotels on Place Royale, now Place des Vosges, had belonged to the greatest people of the time.
Other paintings passed on auction sale but also kept in museums (Musée Atger in Montpellier and the musée du château de Blois), are identified as by the same hand as those of the Hôtel de Chaulnes and therefore our painting.