François Le Moyne (1688-1737)
New findings and legacy
New findings and legacy
23 x 28 cm
Presale campaign. This catalogue raisonné is now available to pre-order at a special price. The book will be sent to all subscribers as soon as available, in spring 2024.
First Painter to the king in 1736 for only a few months before his tragic death, François Le Moyne had a career as short as it was prolific. A large number of works by this exceptional representative of French Rococo had been commissioned by the high clergy, the powerful Duke of Antin – official representative of King Louis XV –, by members of the high aristocracy like the Prince of Conti or the Duke of Rohan or rich fermiers généraux like François Berger or Abraham Peyrenc de Moras, or even by the elite of great collectors or connoisseurs like Mariette, La Live de July and Lempereur.
Teacher of Charles-Joseph Natoire and François Boucher, and contemporary of Antoine Watteau and Jean-François de Troy, he reached the height of his glory with his Apotheosis of Hercules painted between 1732 and 1736 on the immense ceiling of the Salon d’Hercule, located between La Chapelle Royale and the royal apartments of the Château de Versailles. After so many years spent in oblivion, Le Moyne is finally recognized today as one of the major artists of the 18th century, exerting a seminal influence on the following generations.
Unfortunately, only few of the works that Le Moyne realized at the beginning of his career, between 1710 and 1715, have been identified. Nonetheless, he left an important corpus of landscapes, religious works and courtship scenes. He is considered one of the greatest draftsmen of all time and one of the best European artists of illusionistic ceiling painting since the time of Pietro da Cortona and Charles Le Brun. Moreover, Le Moyne contributed with his easel paintings and his technique to the creation of a new, more seductive model for the representation of the female nude in Europe. Lastly, on a technical level, he brightened the palette of French painting and realized sketches with a particularly quick and agile brushstroke.
Nearly forty years after his first monograph devoted to the painter, Professor Jean-Luc Bordeaux proposes a renewed survey of the oeuvre of François Le Moyne (1688–1737). Bordeaux analyses Le Moyne’s contributions to the French rococo as well as lesser-known aspects of his artistic production and career. With almost 140 paintings and 250 drawings, this new catalogue raisonné is an extended edition of the one published in 1984, with significant additions. It also includes an appendix of around twenty pages that describes a considerable amount of works by Le Moyne, now lost but attributed to him by famous collectors of the time and 18th century experts such as Gersaint, Mariette, Paillet and Remy.
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