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feature jean de jullienne
1 Portrait of Antoine Watteau, c. 1722
ttributed to Jean de Jullienne (1686–1766) Black, white and red chalk on paper 23.8320cm Musée Condé, Chantilly 2 Jean de Jullienne, 1722
François de Troy (1645–1730) Oil on canvas, 92.5373cm Musée des Beaux-Arts, Valenciennes rooms in a different part of the building will focus on the collector. Put together, the whole show invites a reassessment of how these two influential figures were linked, and what we can learn – through considering both men separately – about them both.
The first part of the show presents all eight autograph paintings by Watteau in the gallery’s collection. These are supplemented by two of the artist’s rare early works from English public collections, and two 18thcentury copies after his works.2 This group covers many aspects of the artist’s œuvre including his relationship to Flemish art and contemporary theatre; his working methods; the relationships between his drawings and paintings; the importance of the Old Master tradition in his work and his erotic imagery. At the same time as the Wallace show, the Royal Academy is showing a full retrospective of Watteau’s drawings. Seen together, these two exhibitions demonstrate the extraordinary quality of Watteau’s work, his unique position in the history of French 18th-century painting and his unusual, sometimes downright puzzling, working methods.
The two rooms that introduce Jullienne as a collector provide a condensed but valid image of the preferences in painting among well-informed amateurs in mid-18th century Paris.3 Masterworks from museums and private collections in Britain, France and Germany are brought together to create a profile of one of the great collections of paintings in Paris at the time. The display of Watteau’s paintings presents him as an artist who was highly conscious of tradition – even when his idiosyncratic approach set him apart. Jullienne’s collection reveals how this tradition – and Watteau’s response to it – was seen by one of the best-informed collectors of the day. Jullienne was deeply interested in Old Masters, in contemporary artistic production – and in Antoine Watteau.
It cannot be emphasised enough how far Jullienne shaped the image of Watteau for an international public – both in the mid18th century and ever since. The collector’s obsession with Watteau is only documented from after the artist’s death, and we do not know how close both men were when Watteau was alive. What we do know is that Jullienne’s interest in Watteau’s work – and maybe even in his person – was superseded by a vested commercial interest. He might have recognised Watteau’s genius during the artist’s lifetime – but it was only after his death in 1721 that he took control of Watteau’s fame and turned him into the best-published contemporary artist of the 18th century. Jullienne bought up, published and then sold works by Watteau – a strategy reminiscent of Charles Saatchi’s approach to the YBAs.
Jean de Jullienne was the son of a cloth merchant. He was apprenticed in the dye factory of his godfather Jean Glucq and his uncle François Jullienne, both of whom were associated with the Gobelins. In 1729 Jean became the head of the business. His social ascent during the following decades was impressive: in 1737 he was awarded the Cross of the Chevalier of the Order of Saint-Michel. One year later, Jullienne bought the factories from Glucq’s heirs. In 1739 he became Conseiller honoraire et amateur of the Parisian
Academy – an honour that reflected the achievement of Jullienne’s Recueil in 1735.
An early moment in his life and career is reflected in the portrait which François de Troy (1645–1730) painted of Jullienne in 1722 (Fig. 2).4 At that time, Jullienne was about to begin work on the first two volumes of his Recueil. De Troy’s portrait shows Jullienne holding a portrait drawing of Watteau, providing the first visual trace of the enormous project which Jullienne must then have been contemplating. This portrait of Jullienne was completed one year after Watteau’s death on 18 July 1721, which means we can date the collector’s presentation of himself as the promotor and connoisseur of the artist and his work from this moment – a role he would play for the coming decades.
The portrait drawing of the artist held by Jullienne in the painting is very likely to be the one which is now in the Musée Condé (Fig. 1).5 Its attribution is controversial, but it definitely served as the model for an engraving by Boucher (1703–70) that was announced in the Mercure de France in December 1727, and became the frontispiece
104 apollo march 2011 3 Portrait of Antoine Watteau, c. 1736–38
François-Bernard Lépicié (1698–1755) after Antoine Watteau Engraving, 13310.6cm Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris 4 Assis, au près de toy, 1731 Nicolas-Henri Tardieu (1674–1749) Etching, 37.9329.4cm
Wallace Collection, London feature jean de jullienne
of the first volume of the Recueil. François Boucher has been suggested as the artist of the drawing held by Jullienne. Judging from its style, the drawing in Chantilly is obviously not by Watteau. A first outline in black chalk for the artist’s portrait is clearly visible but highly unusual for Watteau’s autograph drawings, as are the surprisingly summary heightening in white chalk in the face, or the broad patches of uninterrupted red chalk on the jacket.
The artist of the Chantilly drawing must have based his portrait on an existing drawing of Watteau’s head without the hands. One can easily recognise that the upper part of the portrait does not sit comfortably on the lower part, with the two hands (the foreshortening of the right hand is unsuccessful) holding the attributes of a draftsman. A further twist is that Watteau’s face closely resembles the painted self-portrait in Jullienne’s collection; it is very possible that an original drawing by Watteau for his self-portrait served as the basis for the drawing in de Troy’s painting of Jullienne.
De Troy depicted Jullienne not as a collector but as an Amateur – a man who combined an intimate knowledge of art with an informed practice. Jullienne is holding a double-ended crayon. The black chalk is visible, and we can assume that the other end would carry the red (or white) chalk needed for drawings in Watteau’s technique or in pastel. Jullienne holds Watteau’s portrait as if he has drawn it. Alastair Laing has convincingly suggested Jullienne as the artist of the Chantilly drawing – and this is certainly suggested by the collector’s gesture.6 For Jullienne is presenting Watteau both as his model and as his creation, a claim which would soon become true with the four volumes of his Recueil. The painting must also roughly coincide with the moment when Jullienne began to buy up Watteau’s works to first publish and then to sell. De Troy’s portrait successfully makes the claim that the appreciation of Watteau defines the true Amateur – and a successful businessman.
Jullienne’s interest in Watteau must have been a complex mixture of altruism and self-interest, as is reflected in highly contradictory contemporary sources. Jullienne’s position as both collector and dealer can clearly be seen in the high number of paintings by the artist passing through his hands, as recorded in the Recueil. He took great pains to only publish autograph works by the artist, capitalising on his claim to have been a close friend of Watteau. He circumvented exactly this principle when he added a visual image for their friendship to the Recueil. NicolasHenri Tardieu’s (1674–1749) famous print shows Watteau and Jean de Jullienne together in a park (Fig. 4). The scene is obviously an ideal image of the friendship between the two men; Jullienne would not have played his viola in the open air, and painting anything other than studies outside the studio was not yet practised. Instead, the print was intended to create an ideal image of the friendship between artist and publisher, and to evoke nature as the main source of Watteau’s work.
The print’s focus on Jullienne and its promotional quality has often led to justified doubts concerning its model. While the inscription of the engraving states that Tardieu followed an original by Watteau, no such painting is known, nor are there any traces for it in the sources. Instead, the individual elements of the composition can easily be traced back to known models. The figure of Watteau was directly taken from a painted self-portrait which is recorded in an engraving by Bernard Lépicié (1698– 1755), announced in 1736 and published in 1738 (Fig. 3). Tardieu has extended the original three-quarter-length portrait into a full-length one, and Watteau is now leaning on a stick – but most of the artist’s lower body is conveniently hidden behind the figure of Jullienne. The latter’s face in turn was taken from de Troy’s portrait of 1722 (Fig. 2), while other elements derive from drawings.
In the first 20 years after Watteau’s death, 39 of his painting were engraved specifying Jullienne as their owner. The album of around 1756 mentions eight works by Watteau in Jullienne’s collection, among them Fêtes vénitiennes (1718–19) in Edinburgh7 and Les plaisirs du bal (c. 1715–17) at Dulwich Picture Gallery, two of Watteau’s finest paintings. Before his death, one work disappeared from the collection while La sérénade italienne (c. 1714–16), today in Stockholm, was added. Quality cannot have been the main criterion for the selection of the works that Jullienne kept, for other masterpieces such as L’embarquement pour Cythère (1717) had disappeared from the collection since their publication for the Recueil. Jullienne obviously acted as a dealer and intermediary, and used the publication of works in the Recueil as a means to increase their value. This suspicion is confirmed by the observation that most of the Watteau paintings in his collection since 1756 were not engraved for the Recueil – probably because they were not for sale. Fêtes vénitiennes was an exception, but the painting was not hung in one of Jullienne’s rooms in 1756. Watteau’s self-portrait might intentionally not have been engraved if it was indeed a source for the fabricated double portrait of the artist with the collector (Fig. 4).
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