7/11/23 - Appel à souscription - Paris, Musée du Louvre - Never two without three? This formula rarely works for the beloved ’French national treasures’, who have all too often got into the habit of taking flight abroad, but both the Musée du Louvre and the Ministry of Culture seem to have got their act together to halt this trend in the space of eight days. After the large drawing by Victor Hugo (see news item on 30/10/23) and the unpublished panel by Cimabue (see news item on 3/11/23), Chardin’s Basket of Wild Strawberries has just been the subject of a spectacular communication. This morning, Rima Abdul Malak and Laurence des Cars announced the launch of a new Tous Mécènes operation aimed at completing the financing of the acquisition of this French 17th-century masterpiece (ill. 1), whose appearance on the market in spring 2022 caused a stir and quickly worried connoisseurs (see the news item of 20/1/22).
- 1. Jean-Siméon Chardin (1699-1779)
Basket of Wild Strawberries
Oil on canvas - 38 × 46 cm
Currently being acquired by the Musée du Louvre
Photo: Artcurial - Cabinet Turquin
- See the image in its page
Remaining until this date in the descendants of Eudoxe Marcille (1814-1890), from whom the painting was first mentioned by Charles Blanc in 1862, this painting, which is so attractive today, had gone virtually unnoticed at the time of its creation. Only a fragile sketch (ill. 2) by the indispensable Gabriel de Saint-Aubin, quickly traced at the top of a page in his copy of the 1761 Salon booklet, reminds us what the 17th-century saw of this work: not much. If today its significance is considered universal, it is because it is first and foremost a simple arrangement of geometric shapes, which the artist was able to transcend through his effects of light and matter: "everything comes together and blossoms" wrote Edmond and Jules de Goncourt after admiring the painting at its owner’s home in 1863. A marvel of balance, "an exquisite…