PIERRE-JOSEPH REDOUTÉ | SAGITTARIA OVATA (SAGITTAIRE À FEUILLES OVALES)
Saint-Hubert 1759 - 1840 Paris
SAGITTARIA OVATA (SAGITTAIRE À FEUILLES OVALES)
Watercolour and bodycolour, with touches of gum arabic, over black chalk, on vellum;
signed in brown ink, lower right: P.J. Redouté
sheet: 470 by 340 mm; 18½ by 13½ in
framed: 66 by 53.5 cm; 26 by 21 in
The work is executed on a fine sheet of vellum which has been hinge/float mounted onto a modern backing. There is some very minor buckling to the sheet which is entirely consistent with the vellum support and some extremely minor surface dirt in places. The combination of media remains in delightfully fresh condition throughout. Sold framed.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
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 (''Pierre-Joseph Redouté's Liliacées"), New York, Sotheby's, 20 November 1985, lot 411, to W. Graham Arader, New York
The present work 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 coloured and assembled into volumes. The complete work was composed of 486 plates, published in 80 separate installments between 1802 and 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.