View full screen - View 1 of Lot 88. Boreas raises Orithyia | Borée enlevant Orithye.
88

Jean-Baptiste Nattier

Boreas raises Orithyia | Borée enlevant Orithye

Estimate:

26,000 - 35,000 EUR

Jean-Baptiste Nattier

Jean-Baptiste Nattier

Boreas raises Orithyia | Borée enlevant Orithye

Boreas raises Orithyia | Borée enlevant Orithye

Estimate:

26,000 - 35,000 EUR

Jean-Baptiste Nattier

Paris 1678 - 1726

Boreas raises Orithyia


Oil on canvas, oval

110,5 x 99,2 cm ; 43½ by 39 in.

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Jean-Baptiste Nattier

Paris 1678 - 1726

Borée enlevant Orithye


Huile sur toile, ovale

110,5 x 99,2 cm ; 43½ by 39 in.

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Although the work of Jean-Baptiste Nattier mostly remains to be discovered, there are six known paintings and a few drawings by him. He was trained by his father, the portrait painter Marc Nattier (1685-1766), and was a pensionnaire at the Académie de France in Rome from 1704-1709. He was accepted into the Académie in 1712 with his reception piece Joseph and the wife of Potiphar, now in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. He killed himself after being compromised in a matter that had led to his imprisonment in the Bastille. Mariette, in his Abecedario, gave this tragic end as the reason why the artist was forgotten; it explains why many attributions of his work are probably lost or mistaken for other artists.


Here, an attribution to Jean-Baptiste Nattier seems compelling in view of other mythological works that are confidently assigned to him and that bear many similarities to the present painting. A Galatea whose current whereabouts are unknown seems particularly close to the present Orythia (Eighteenth-Century Drawings from the Collection of Mrs. Gertrude Laughlin Chanler, Washington DC, National Gallery of Art, 1982, p. 18-19, no. 2) as does a Venus in a Death of Adonis signed ‘Nattier the Elder’, dated 1713 and on sale in 1981 in Paris (Paris, Drouot, Couturier-Nicolaÿ, 26 June 1981, lot 20). The subject of the present painting, particularly popular in many decorative schemes of the same period, as well as its oval shape, suggest that it too had a decorative function, probably set into wood panelling. The work seems to be partly inspired by the Allegory of Winter by Jean Jouvenet (1644-1717), painted for the royal residence at Marly in 1699 and now in the Musée du Louvre (inv. 5497). This influence seems all the more likely for the fact that in 1685 Jouvenet became godfather and then guardian to the celebrated portrait painter Jean-Marc Nattier, brother of Jean-Baptiste.


This painting is a fine and fitting addition to the painter’s oeuvre, which is still largely unreconstructed. But above all, it is an example of the spectacular mythological compositions that embellished the lavish decoration of mansions at the beginning of the eighteenth century. 

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Bien que l’œuvre de Jean-Baptiste Nattier soit encore en grande partie à découvrir, on connaît de lui six peintures et quelques dessins. Elève de son père, le portraitiste Marc Nattier (1685-1766), pensionnaire à l’Académie de France à Rome de 1704-1709, il est reçu à l’Académie en 1712 avec pour morceau de Réception Joseph et la femme de Putiphar aujourd’hui conservé à Saint-Pétersbourg au musée de l’Ermitage.

Compromis en 1726 dans une affaire qui le conduit à la Bastille, il se tue. Mariette dans son Abecedario explique par cette fin tragique la disparition de cet artiste des mémoires et nous permet de comprendre pourquoi les attributions de beaucoup de ses œuvres se sont probablement perdues ou confondues avec d’autres artistes.


L’attribution à Jean-Baptiste Nattier semble pertinente au regard des œuvres mythologiques qui lui sont attribuées avec certitude. Elles présentent de nombreuses similitudes avec notre tableau. En effet, une Galatée dont on a perdu la trace est très proche de notre Orythie (Eighteenth-Century Drawings from the Collection of Mrs. Gertrude Laughlin Chanler, Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art, 1982, p. 18-19, n°2) ainsi qu’une Vénus dans une Mort d’Adonis signée « Nattier l’Aîné » datée 1713 et passée en vente en 1981 à Paris (Paris, Drouot, Couturier-Nicolaÿ, 26 juin 1981, lot 20).

Le sujet de notre tableau, particulièrement populaire dans de nombreux décors de la même période, ainsi que son format ovale suggèrent qu’il faisait également partie d’un décor et était probablement encastré dans des boiseries. Il semble en partie inspiré du tableau de L’Allégorie de l’Hiver de Jean Jouvenet (1644-1717) peint pour la résidence royale de Marly en 1699 appartenant aujourd’hui au Louvre (inv. 5497). Cette influence est d’autant plus probable qu’en 1685, Jouvenet devient le parrain puis le curateur du célèbre portraitiste Jean-Marc Nattier, frère de Jean-Baptiste.


Ce beau tableau enrichit avec à-propos l’œuvre encore majoritairement à reconstituer de ce peintre mais témoigne surtout des spectaculaires compositions mythologiques qui embellissaient les riches décors des résidences du début du XVIIIe siècle.