A. Beurdeley (L.421),
his sale, Paris, Féral and Paulme, Hôtel Drouot, 8-10 June 1920, lot 210 (19,050 FF, noted in Bénézit);
his sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 9-10 June 1971, lot 222;
Arthur M. Sackler, Washington;
sale, New York, Christie's, 12 January 1995, lot 183;
sale, London, Christie's South Kensington, 21 April 1998, lot 229
with W. M. Brady & Co., New York 2000
This counterproof from the Beurdeley collection is related to a project by Pajou which was probably never realized. At the Salon of 1771 the sculptor did exhibit a Hebe, Goddess of Youth in terracotta. This was going to be executed in marble for Madame Du Barry, although as Scherf points out, Pajou never requested payment and therefore the work cannot actually have been executed.1 The exhibited terracotta has been identified with a group formerly recorded in the François Flameng and David-Weill collections.2 The present counterproof is close to the corresponding figure in that terracotta, but there are also significant differences, notably that in the sculpture she is attended by a winged putto, rather than an eagle, and her hair style and classical tunic are simplified when compared with the more official representation in the present drawing.
Madame Du Barry was particularly fond of identifying herself with Hebe, the Greek goddess of youth, who was the daughter of Jupiter and Io, and who married Hercules after his ascent to Olympus. This was surely an allusion to her relationship with King Louis XV, whose traditional allegorical representation was as Hercules. Scherf writes that the favor that Pajou enjoyed with Madame Du Barry won him great celebrity as a portraitist of women. She commissioned from him no fewer than five portrait busts, as well as several other works, including decorative sculptures for her pavillion at Louveciennes.
1. J. D. Draper, G. Scherf, Augustin Pajou, exhib. cat., Paris, Musée du Louvre and New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998, p. 237
2. Ibid., p. 237, reproduced fig. 160
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