Jabach and the Fouquet Scandal.
During the 1650s Jabach lurked amongst the collectors at the Commonwealth Sale with the intention of thwarting the ambitions of the Spanish, and he outwitted them a few times. This was unsurprising as Jabach was both financier and art dealer; and it was in those capacities that he sold 61 pictures of Cardinal Mazarin as a gift to Louis XIV’s Minister of Finance, Nicolas Fouquet. It wasn’t strictly a gift as there was a colossal sum of 240,000 livres involved, but then Fouquet liked to live lavishly. Then as now with financial dealing, all was not as it seemed. It transpired that Fouquet had not personally paid for the pictures, but had relied on money advanced from a client, Nicolas Doublet who was destined never to be reimbursed because Fouquet was accused of creative accounting and dismissed from office in September 1661. However, the painter Charles Le Brun who had decorated Fouquet’s magnificent chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte, petitioned Colbert to pay Doublet; but instead, Colbert decided to buy Mazarin’s paintings himself, and in April 1662 made a payment of 330,000 livres, not to the hapless Doublet but to Jabach who as Brown says had “mysteriously once again come into possession of the pictures.” Not only did Jabach raise the price of the Fouquet sale, but he probably increased the number of pictures from sixty-one to one hundred. In 1664 Jabach became Director of the French East India Company, and this, along with other interests ensured that money was no object in buying pictures for his collection.
Sir Peter Lely, Everhard Jabach, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, oil on canvas, 124 x 105 cm.
Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Melun, 55 kms, SW of Paris.
Charles Le Brun, The Triumph of Faith, 1658-60, Oil on canvas, Château, Vaux-le-Vicomte.
|Charles Le Brun, Everhard Jabach and Family, 1660, oil on canvas, 280 x 328 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York|
|Paolo Veronese, Virgin and Child with Sts Justine and George and a Benedictine, oil on canvas, 90 x 90 cm, Museé du Louvre, Paris|
Gilles Rousselet, Louis Henri de Loménie, Count of Brienne.
Titian, Pastoral Concert (Fête champêtre), 1508-09, Oil on canvas, 110 x 138 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
Claude Lefebvre, Jean Baptiste Colbert, 1666, Oil on canvas, 118 x 113 cm, Château de Versailles, Versailles.
Somebody who had helped Jabach liquidate his first collection and build his second was Mazarin’s secretary, Louis Henri de Loménie, Count of Brienne (1636-98). A well-travelled man who had ventured as far as Lapland, Brienne was an ardent lover of pictures. He could be speaking for many art collectors of the period with his enthusiastic declaration of love for paintings, though his claims as a great connoisseur have to be taken with a pinch of salt: “I spent a great deal of money on paintings. I love them; I love them to the point of madness. I know them very well. I can buy a painting without consulting anyone and without being fooled by the Jabachs and the Perruchots [a dealer], by the Forests and Podestas, those horse-traders of paintings who, in their time, have often sold copies for originals.” By 1662 Brienne owned fifty pictures which were paraded in a catalogue (written in Latin, a sign of his grandiose ambitions) but his fortunes took a turn for the worse due to his gambling. Expelled from court, Brienne wandered through Germany for three years before ending up in the asylum of St Lazare in Paris, for a stay of sixteen years. Brienne’s downfall benefited Jabach as he acquired some of his pictures including Veronese’s Virgin and Child with Sts Justine and George and a Benedictine. Brienne’s pictures were only a small tranche of Jabach’s collecting empire; he also acquired pictures from the Arundel holdings, not to mention selling re-touched drawings to Colbert whose acquisitions from Jabach numbered about 40%. It is estimated that by the time of Jabach’s death in 1695, the banker’s collection numbered nearly seven hundred paintings, 4500 drawings, with the emphasis in this third collection on Flemish and French pictures, though Jabach had copies of great Italian art he had owned previously.
Colbert’s Acquisitions and other collectors.
In addition to buying art from Jabach, Colbert used other sources such as the collection of Cardinal Mazarin, some of which were bequests to the King. This was a precedent which had begun with Cardinal Richelieu who had, near the end of his life, presented some of his art to Louis XIII. Another important source was the great collector, the duke of Richelieu, nephew of the Cardinal (1629-1715). The duke had a liking for the painters of seventeenth-century Rome. He was responsible for influencing taste so that Parisian collectors sought out Poussin, Annibale, Guido and Albani. One distinguished visitor to the Duke of Richelieu’s gallery was the famous sculptor, Gianlorenzo Bernini who was notoriously hard to please in matters of art. He has left us some of his insightful comments on the pictures in the duke’s gallery which he said was “just as a collection should be, with nothing in it but the best. “ AS for examples of his insight on pictures and the display of them, Bernini said that Poussin’s Plague at Ashdod, hung very high, should be hung lower; he also noted that in Titian’s so-called Madonna of the Rabbit, the sky had “changed and blackened, so that it came forward instead of receding.” Not one for standing on diplomatic protocol, Bernini was outspoken in his criticism of Louis XIV’s collection, even going so far as to censure it in front of the King himself: “As for the other matter, instead of so many cabinets, vases, cut-glass, etc, he would have wished the King to have examples of some Greek statuary in one or two rooms and pictures by first class masters in others.” Bernini had clearly overstepped the mark this time because this frankness alienated him from the King and Colbert resulting in the sculptor’s dismissal from the service of the French court.
Charles de la Fosse, Armand-Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu, oil on canvas, Museé des Beaux-Arts, Tours.
Poussin, Plague at Ashdod, 1630, oil on canvas, 148 x 198 cm, Museé du Louvre, Paris.
Titian, Madonna and Child with St Catherine and a Rabbit, 1530, Oil on canvas, 74 x 84 cm, Musée du Louvre.
Claude Lorrain, Landscape with Paris and Oenone, 1648, Oil on canvas, 119 x 150 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
The Sun King’s Picture Collection
In the next decade, the great art amateur or art lover, Roger de Piles, visited the cabinet of the King’s pictures which suggests that the collection was open to members of the public. The collection was shuffled from building to building, but initially was housed in the Louvre. In December 1681, Louis XIV toured the cabinet du roi at the Louvre and the newspaper the Mercure galant offers a report of this visit, helpfully giving us the earliest description of the Sun King’s art collection. We are told of a set of seven rooms in the Galerie d’Apollon in the Louvre housing works by Correggio, Leonardo, Carracci, Van Dyck, Poussin and others- all the right names in other words. The breakdown was as follows: Correggio (6), Guilio Romano (5), Leonardo (10), Giorgione (9), Palma Vecchio (4), Titian (23), Carracci (19), Domenichino (8), Reni (12), Tintoretto (6), Veronese (18), Van Dyck (14), Poussin (17), Le Brun (6). Louis commented on the juxtaposition of Le Brun pictures next to the Old Masters concluding “they hold up well among those by these great masters, and after his death will be much sought after, but he hopes he will not have this advantage so soon because he needs him.” It need hardly be stated that this judgment on Le Brun compared to the Old Masters reflects badly on the King’s lack of perception where fine art is concerned. Le Brun is a fine master, but hardly in the first rank of artists.
Hyacinthe Rigaud, Portrait of Louis XIV, 1701, Oil on canvas, 277 x 194 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris Louis.
|Charles Le Brun, The Family of Darius before Alexander, c. 1660, Oil on canvas, 164 x 260 cm, Musée National du Château, Versailles|
|Unknown 17th century German engraver, Palais du Louvre.|
Baciccio, Portrait of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1665, Oil on canvas, 72 x 61 cm, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome.
After Bernini had returned to Rome, twenty-five of the Duke’s finest paintings were sold to the crown for 50,000 livres during a period of what could be called one of the richest periods of collecting by the crown inaugurated by Colbert in the 1660s. After Colbert’s death in 1683, a draft of the inventory was made by Le Brun (signed and dated 18th October, 1683). This lists 426 paintings; an appendix adds another fifty- seven, a total of 483. The final inventory of Louis XIV’s paintings would number 2,400 paintings. As Brown says, from this point until the death of the King in 1715, the rate of accumulation declines with the exception of the 21 canvases and sculpture bequeathed by the King’s gardener, André Le Nôtre. This decline merits an explanation and Brown attributes the reason for the decline in picture purchases to Louis XIV himself who he says “had no eye for pictures” or who simply regarded them as extensions of the royal splendour of his reign. Bernini’s candour notwithstanding, the Roman sculptor was right about the organization of the French royal collection. As Brown concludes, it was acquired mainly for “reasons of state” and it was only the lectures of Le Brun, Philippe de Champaigne, and Sébastian Bourdon on pictures in the collection – such as Raphael’s St Michael- which elevated the holdings into something more than a symbol of royal privilege and power.
Carlo Maratta, André La Notre, 1680, oil on canvas, 112 x 85 cm, Musée National du Château, Versailles.
|Charles Le Brun, Louis XIV Visiting the Gobelins Factory, 1673, Tapestry, 370 x 576 cm, Musée National du Château, Versailles.|
|Att to Adam Frans van der Meulen, Construction of the Château de Versailles, 1680, Oil on canvas, 108 x 142.3 cm, Royal Collection, London.|
|Raphael, St Michael and the Devil, 1518, Oil transferred from wood to canvas, 268 x 160 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris|
1) Charles Le Brun, Everhard Jabach and Family, 1660, oil on canvas, 280 x 328 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
2) Sir Peter Lely, Everhard Jabach, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, oil on canvas, 124 x 105 cm.
3) Charles Le Brun, Everhard Jabach and Family installed at Olantigh House, Kent, with top of canvas folded over, photo from “Country Life”, 1969.
4) Photograph, formerly Kaiser-Friedrich Museum, Berlin, destroyed in World War II.
5) Hans Holbein, Erasmus, 1523, Oil on wood, 43 x 33 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
6) Leonardo da Vinci, St John the Baptist, 1513-16, Oil on panel, 69 x 57 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
7) Titian, Woman with a Mirror, c. 1514, Oil on canvas, 93 x 76 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
8) Caravaggio, The Death of the Virgin, 1602-06, Oil on canvas, 369 x 245 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
9) Titian, Pastoral Concert (Fête champêtre), 1508-09, Oil on canvas, 110 x 138 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
10) Correggio, Allegory of Virtue, 1525-30, Distemper, 142 x 86 cm, Musée du Louvre.
11) Charles Le Brun, Chancellor Séguier at the Entry of Louis XIV into Paris, 1655-61, Oil on canvas, 295 x 351 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
12) Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Melun, 55 kms, SW of Paris.
13) Charles Le Brun, The Triumph of Faith, 1658-60, Oil on canvas, Château, Vaux-le-Vicomte.
14) Charles Le Brun, Holy Family with the Adoration of the Child, 1655, Oil on canvas, 87 x 118 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
15) Charles Le Brun, The Family of Darius before Alexander, c. 1660, Oil on canvas, 164 x 260 cm, Musée National du Château, Versailles.
16) Raphael, The Holy Family, 1518, Oil on canvas transferred from wood, 207 x 140 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
17) Pierre Mignard, Perseus and Andromeda, 1679, Oil on canvas, 150 x 198 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
18) Gilles Rousselet, Louis Henri de Loménie, Count of Brienne.
19) Paolo Veronese, Virgin and Child with Sts Justine and George and a Benedictine, oil on canvas, 90 x 90 cm, Museé du Louvre, Paris.
20) Charles de la Fosse, Armand-Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu, oil on canvas, Museé des Beaux-Arts, Tours.
21) Charles de la Fosse The Finding of Moses, 1675-80, Oil on canvas, 125 x 110 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
22) Baciccio, Portrait of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1665, Oil on canvas, 72 x 61 cm, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome.
23) Titian, Madonna and Child with St Catherine and a Rabbit, 1530, Oil on canvas, 74 x 84 cm, Musée du Louvre.
24) Poussin, Plague at Ashdod, 1630, oil on canvas, 148 x 198 cm, Museé du Louvre, Paris.
25) Claude Lorrain, Landscape with Paris and Oenone, 1648, Oil on canvas, 119 x 150 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
26) Nicolas Poussin, Rebecca and Eliezer, oil on canvas, 118 x 199 cm, Museé du Louvre, Paris.
27) Peter Paul Rubens, The Fall of the Damned, c. 1620, Oil on canvas, 286 x 224 cm, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.
28) Hyacinthe Rigaud, Portrait of Louis XIV, 1701, Oil on canvas, 277 x 194 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris Louis.
29) Claude Lefebvre, Jean Baptiste Colbert, 1666, Oil on canvas, 118 x 113 cm, Château de Versailles, Versailles.
30) Unknown 17th century German engraver, Palais du Louvre.
31) Att to Adam Frans van der Meulen, Construction of the Château de Versailles, 1680, Oil on canvas, 108 x 142.3 cm, Royal Collection, London.
32) Charles Le Brun, Louis XIV Visiting the Gobelins Factory, 1673, Tapestry, 370 x 576 cm, Musée National du Château, Versailles.
33) Carlo Maratta, André La Notre, 1680, oil on canvas, 112 x 85 cm, Musée National du Château, Versailles.
34) Sébastian Bourdon, Portrait of a Man, Oil on canvas, 105 x 65 cm, Musée Fabre, Montpellier.
35) Raphael, St Michael and the Devil, 1518, Oil transferred from wood to canvas, 268 x 160 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
 Claude Nivelon, Vie de Charles Le Brun et description détaille de ses ouvrages, (Droz, 2004), 249-250.
 As Richard Spear notes, Brienne’s connoisseurial ability was thrown into doubt by his purchase of a small version on copper of Guido’s Crucifixion of St Peter (“cet excellent tableau”) which Spear considers “ a good copy of the altarpiece.” Brienne had boasted that one cannot confuse a painting by Guido with a painting by Guercino, an Albani with a Domenichino, a Lanfranco with an Annibale.” The Divine Guido, 273-4. Interestingly, Mazarin did mistake a Lanfranco for an Annibale.
 From the Met’s website: “ …at his death an inventory was drawn up listing 688 pictures—not, it should be said, equivalent in quality to those he sold to the crown, some being copies—and 4,515 drawings, whose quality may be judged by the fact that many entered the discriminating collections of Pierre Crozat (1665–1740), Carl Gustav Tessin (1695–1770), and Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694–1774); many further enriched the Louvre’s collection.”
 The dealer Perruchot said of Albani: “As for the paintings of Francesco Albani, they are esteemed in Paris, as long as they are not his latest works.” Then he adds: “The paintings of Annibale Carracci, of Domenichino and of Guido Bolognese are still greatly esteemed in Paris.” Brown, 213.
 These are Chantelou’s reports of Bernini’s comments
 This report from the Mercure galant, December 1681, is quoted in Robert W. Berger, Public Access to Art in Paris: A Documentary History from the Middle Ages to 1800 (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), 86f.
 Blunt provides a useful overview of art during the transition from Colbert to Louvois: Art and Architecture in France 1500-1700, (Yale, Pelican History of Art, 1953, rep. 1982), 359f.
 Two versions are known, both originally in Cologne. One was destroyed in Berlin during the war and the other was neglected because it hung in a country house in Kent; it was offered for sale in 2013 and bought by the Met in 2014. The family (l to r) are Jabach, Everhard the Younger, Anna Maria née de Groote, Hélène, Heinrich, and Anna Maria.
 Nivelon, Vie de Charles Le Brun, 273f.
 This was transferred to Versailles in 1695 where it was placed next to Raphael’s St Michael. Seen as guided by Raphael, but with the contributions of several of his collaborators, Raphael dans le collections françaises, (Paris, 1983-4), no. 10.
 From Cavallini to Veronese: Holy Family with Saints and a Donor. Canvas, 90 x 90. St George is the saint on the left. On the right, St Giustina introduces the donor, who has been identified as Girolamo Scrocchetto, the abbot who commissioned the Wedding at Cana for San Giorgio Maggiore. The abbot is portrayed as a guest on the right of the Wedding at Cana. Here he is shown as a much younger man; so the painting presumably dates from early in his first period as abbot, between 1551 and 1554. Acquired by Louis XIV in 1671 from the German banker Everhard Jabach. (The French king acquired no less than twenty-two paintings by, or attributed to, Veronese between 1662 and 1683, more than half of them from Jabach.)
 From The RC web site: This picture shows the building of Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles and can be dated on the basis of the architecture, which corresponds to the considerable extensions begun in 1678 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. During these years the forecourt was remodelled and new ranges added on the east side. In the painting the palace itself is finished, but the two Ailes des Ministres, separated by the Place d’Armes, are still under construction. The painting is of particular interest in illustrating an extensive and complicated building operation in progress. In the centre foreground a group of architects, including Mansart discuss a plan. The figure in black wearing the riband and star of the Order of the Holy Ghost is almost certainly Louis XIV’s minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who, together with Louis XIV, was the chief arbiter of taste in France during his time in office. Above in the centre is a coach approaching the palace: this might well be conveying Louis XIV after having inspected building progress. For more details- link.
 According to Vasari, painted for Francois I. The choice of saint might refer to the Order of St Michel. Raphael dans le collections françaises, no. 9.