Lot 66
  • 66

PIERRE-JOSEPH REDOUTÉ | Fritillaria latifolia

15,000 - 20,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pierre-Joseph Redouté
  • Fritillaria latifolia
  • Watercolor and bodycolor, with touches of gum arabic, over pencil, on vellum;signed in brown ink, lower left: P.J. Redouté and the subsidiary studies numbered in pencil: 1., 2., 3. and 4.


Acquired from the artist by Empress Josephine,
thence by descent to Prince Eugène de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg, Bavaria,
thence by descent until sold, ("Sale of the Library of Eugène de Beauharnais"), Zurich, Braus-Riggenbach and Ulrico Hoepli, 23 May 1935, lot 82;
Erhard Weyhe, New York;
sale (''The Property of a Private Trust"), New York, Sotheby's, 20 November 1985, lot 51

Catalogue Note

The present lot comes from Pierre-Joseph Redouté's largest and most ambitious work, Les Liliacées, which was conceived as a meticulous exercise to render accurately the different members of the Liliaceae family, as well as to produce aesthetically beautiful images.  Highly finished drawings like this were the basis from which engraved plates were made, to be hand colored and assembled into volumes.  The complete work was composed of 486 plates, published in 80 separate instalments from 1802-1816. Empress Josephine had a passion for flowers and spent much time and money in creating gardens at Malmaison, Saint-Cloud, Versailles and Sèvres.  Being employed by the Empress, Redouté had open access to these gardens. While this series was not directly commissioned by her, without her patronage the work surely would never have come to fruition.  Knowing that a work such as Les Liliacées would greatly please his patron, Redouté presented his original drawings in a bound volume to the Empress.