He is a seated hunter, surrounded by his dogs, resting after the effort. The face slightly reddened, the gaze in the distance, a little lost in thought… This very beautiful painting, very different from the portraits of virile and triumphant hunters, can now be admired by the general public at the Museum of Hunting and Nature. During a sale at Mathias Auction at the Hôtel Drouot on January 29, the institution preempted the work which had been auctioned for the sum of € 290,000.
« We have few paintings from the Grand Siècle and we had been watching this painting since we learned that it was on sale., explains the director of the museum, Christine Germain-Donnat. This painting is one of the first images of a man from civil society in a hunter’s dress. He is necessarily a noble, since hunting remains a privilege in the 17th century. »
An important piece
The canvas, dating from 1661, is signed by two Flemish masters Jean Daret and Nicasius Bernaerts. “Jean Daret, who also did religious painting, is an artist little known to the general public but very much appreciated by experts in 17th century painting., explains the director. As for Nicasius Canisius, he was in the Great Century what was done best in animal paintings. He was the master of François Desportes, of whom we keep a hundred works in our collections.. »
To prepare for this preemption, the Musée de la Chasse first approached other institutions that might be interested in the painting: the Louvre, the Granet museum in Aix-en-Provence, the future museum of the Grand Siècle of Saint- Cloud… When he decided to buy it, the museum went up, “With the help of our friends at the Louvre”, a file with the Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs (Drac) of Île de France to explain the interest of this painting and obtain the authorization of the State.
The right of preemption is a priority right exercised by the State during a sale. The purchase is then made at the price fixed by the auctions at the last blow of the hammer, without the interest of the State causing any increase in price. The François Sommer Foundation (private) acquired the painting for the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, which enjoys the status of Musée de France.
A reopening announced in the spring
With this new trophy, the Museum of Hunting and Nature will have a new reason to attract visitors when it reopens next spring, after a reorganization of its spaces linked to the relocation of its administration. “This move freed up 250 m2, which gives us a third of our surface area more. The museum was full as an egg, we will be able to expand a bit ”, rejoices Christine Germain-Donnat.
The hanging of the first floor should remain the same “With some new features”, including the painting by Daret and Canisius and a painting representing a woman in hunting clothes who will go up from the reserves. “Since the Renaissance, women have participated in hunting, it was normal for them to dialogue with their fellows …”, smiles the director.
On the 2nd floor, the museum will expand its offer around contemporary art, which has been its trademark for several years. “We will be offering an Anthropocene diorama, by reactivating this system of presentation by projection very popular in museums in the 19th century and which disappeared in the 1970s., continues Christine Germain-Donnat. The artist François Malingrëy created three atmospheres – a plain, a sunset and a cave – to deploy a representation of the cohabitation of men and animals, while evoking the repercussions of human activities in this nature ”.
An imaginary cabinet of curiosities, a dedicated room “Animal feeling” and a space around “The forest as a refuge” will complete this new invitation, which promises to be very attractive.