Lot 100
  • 100

Etienne Jeaurat

30,000 - 50,000 USD
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  • Etienne Jeaurat
  • The Judgment of Paris
  • oil on canvas


Jacques-Joseph Duché, Procureur général de la Cour des Comptes, Montpellier;
His Sale, Montpellier, 2 September 1802, lot 37 (as François Lemoine);
Where acquired by Abraham Fontanel on behalf of Jacques-Joseph de Boussairolles (1741-1814);
And thence by descent in the family until sold;
Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 8 April 1908, lot 16 (as François Lemoine);
Where acquired by Blondeau;
Eugene Plantrou, Rouen (noted in the inventories of his collection taken in 1925 and again in 1935);
His sale, Rouen, Hôtel des Ventes, 7-9 November 1938, lot 222 (as François Lemoine);
Private Collection, United States.


Rouen, Musée de Peinture, Exposition d'art du XVIIIe siècle, 25 March – 30 April 1929, no. 23 (as François Lemoine);
Copenhagen, Charlottenborg Palace, Exposition de l'art français aux XVIIIe siècle, 25 August – 6 October 1935, no. 126 (as François Lemoine);
New York, Dahesh Museum, Cupids:  Flights of Fancy, Love and Mischief, 13 February – 8 June 1996, fig. 4;
New York, Berry-Hill Galleries, Inc., Visions and Vistas:  Old Master Paintings and Drawings, 25 January – 4 March 2000, no. 72.


J.L Bordeaux, François le Moyne and his Generation, Neuilly sur Seine 1984, p. 138, no. X21, reproduced fig. 120 (as a rejected attribution);
A. Chevalier, La collection de tableaux de Jacques-Joseph de Bousairolles 1741-1814:  un collectionneur du début du XIX siècle à Montpellier, doctoral dissertation, Sorbonne-Paris IV 1984, p. 34, no. 24 (as Lemoyne, François ?);
C.B. Bailey, The Loves of the Gods:  Mythological Painting from Watteau to David, exh. cat. Fort Worth 1992, pp. 446, 449, under no. 53, reproduced fig. 5 (as attributed to Jeaurat);
A. Chevalier, "La Collection Boussairolles:  Gout et Commerce à Montpellier sous le Consulat et l'Empire," in Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art Français, 1994, p. 181, no. 28 (as attributed to François Lemoyne).


The picture has an old relining. This painting is in excellent condition and may be hung as is. Under UV there are no perceptible retouches, and the varnish appears very fresh. Again, in excellent condition. In a carved gilt wood frame.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Thought to be a work by François Lemoine when it was acquired in the early nineteenth century, this beautiful and lyrical depiction of the Judgment of Paris is actually the work of Lemoine's contemporary, Etienne Jeaurat.  Although Jeaurat is perhaps best remembered today for his more comedic and light-hearted genre scenes, he was also a highly accomplished academician.  In 1747 he was one of the ten artists selected by Charles-François Le Normand de Tournehem to reaffirm the primacy and importance of history painting in the French Academy, and his resultant painting, Diogenes Drinking from his Hand after Breaking his Cup, was one of the 11 paintings commissioned and hung in the Galerie Apollon in the Louvre.  In the present work, the figures' delicate facial features and the predominance of gray and blue tones are characteristic of Jeaurat's style.  A preparatory sketch for The Judgment of Paris is in a private collection (see fig. 1). 

Although little studied by scholars until quite recently, the art collection of Jacques-Joseph de Boussairolles was one of the most important French private collections of its time. De Boussairolles was the son of a well-established family from Montpellier, who made his fortune in salt trading.  He served on the Cour des Comptes in Montpellier from 1763 until its dissolution in 1791.  Sympathetic to the idea of reform, Boussairolles was active politically during the early years of the Revolution, until being imprisoned in 1793.  He was eventually released and restored to his land and fortune and went on to receive important commissions and titles under Napoleon.   It was also during this time that he became an active art collector, amassing most of his fine collection between the years 1802 and his death in 1814.  The present work was one of eight that he purchased with the help of the famed art dealer Abraham Fontanel from the sale of Jacques-Joseph Duché's collection in 1802.  This sale of a fellow Montpellierien's collection was the catalyst that launched Boussairolles' collecting career.  Fontanel remained his close friend and advisor and was active in forming the core of Boussairolles' collection.  Today, paintings with Boussairolles provenance can be found in museums around the world, including the Musée du Louvre, Art Institute of Chicago and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

A similar mythological scene by Jeaurat depicting Diana Surprised by Acteon was on the New York art market, Sotheby's, 22 May 1997, lot 124.

We are grateful to Sylvie de Langlade and Jean Luc Bordeaux for independently confirming the attribution to Jeaurat on the basis of photographs. The painting will be included in Sylvie de Langlade's forthcoming catalogue raisonné on the artist.