Offered by Franck Baptiste Paris
16th to 19th century furniture and works of art
Allegory of sculpture, workshop of Carle Van Loo, circa 1755-60
Important door top representing an allegory of sculpture, in the form of a child busy designing a bust. The scene takes place in a sculpture workshop where we can see an urn, a bust and a marble block, as well as the tools of our sculptor. The sculptor is sitting on a wooden box and using a hammer and a chisel, he is deburring the work he is finishing. One can easily recognize the profile of King Louis XV, after the work sculpted by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne (1704-1778) in the 1750s.
Oil on canvas (lined), in good condition, with small scattered retouching.
Important original frame in finely carved and gilded wood, decorated in the Bérain style with foliage, shells in spandrels, flowers and acanthus topped with wings.
Bears an apocryphal mark of the painter "De Wit" in a cartridge at the bottom of the frame.
Workshop of Carle Van Loo*, Paris around 1755-60
Frame : Height 182.5cm ; Width 127 cm.
Canvas : Height 102cm ; Width 162 cm.
Our opinion :
Although the frame of our door top mentions the name of a Flemish painter specialized in allegorical trompes-l’oeil, it is certain that our work is a copy of a painting by Carle Van Loo (1705-1765) from a series of four allegories of the arts (sculpture, painting, music, reading). This error is probably due to a lack of knowledge on the part of a 19th century restorer.
This series of works commissioned by Madame de Pompadour around 1752 was a great success.
Presented to the Royal Academy of Painting, it adorned the company room of her Bellevue Castle in Meudon, a property built and offered by King Louis XV to his favorite.
The marquise, a true icon of the 18th century, was recognized for her taste and copied by many members of the court. Following the considerable success of the work, Van Loo's workshop received multiple orders for identical door tops.
At 180cm wide, the present model would have adorned the living room of an important castel with carved woodwork and monumental doors.
The four original paintings are now in the USA, at the Museum of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco (n°inv 19150.11).
*Carle Van Loo (1705-1765)
Born into a dynasty of Flemish painters, Carle van Loo was introduced to painting and sculpture at a very young age, he won the first prize for painting at the Royal Academy in 1724. He then worked in Rome for the Pope and in Turin for the Prince of Savoy, before settling permanently in Paris in 1734. He was quickly recognized as one of the best and accumulated positions and honors. He was admitted to the Academy in 1735 and became a professor there before being appointed First Painter to the King in 1762 and Director of the Academy the following year.
Van Loo's work is representative of the taste of the time. He produced numerous portraits, genre scenes of galant or mythological inspiration ; the door tops he made for the interior decoration of the Hôtel de Soubise are preserved in situ. Today he is admired above all for his large compositions on historical or religious subjects, such as the six large panels illustr