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Portrait of the Architect Antoine Deriset; The Washerwoman Rita Pontani; A Young Man, Studying a Hole in his Stocking. Three etchings from the series Receuil de Caricatures. Each measuring approx. 27.5 x 19.4 cm. Circa 1754. Portalis-Béraldi, from 523; Inventaire du Fonds Français, dixhuitième siècle, vol. 12, from 322; Suzanne Boorsch, “The Receuil de Caricatures by La Live de Jully after Saly”, Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, 2004, pp. 68–83, nos. 3, 12, 16.
The three etchings, executed with verve and ingenuity, come from the seventeen-print series Receuil de Caricatures, which the aristocrat, art collector and etcher, Ange-Laurent de la Live de Jully (1725–1779, Paris) produced around 1754 after drawings by the sculptor, Jacques-François-Joseph Saly (1717–1776). From 1740 to 1748 Saly studied in Rome as a pensionnaire of the French Academy. In about 1745 he drew a series of caricature portraits, mostly of leading dignitaries of the French Academy together with artists and employees of this renowned institution. Hence, La Live’s etchings after preliminary drawings by Saly are of considerable cultural historical importance, since they convey a very original and entertaining picture of everyday life at the Academy. For the most part these are breezily dashed off caricature portraits in the manner of Pier Leone Ghezzi, in which the persons portrayed are shown in full figure and profile view with the characteristic attributes of their office. Special mention should be made here of Suzanne Boorsch, who has been able to convincingly identify the majority of the persons portrayed. The reverently observed depiction of a young man studying a hole in his stocking is the sole instance of a more genre-like everyday scene which Saly probably witnessed in the streets of Rome. La Live’s etchings brilliantly reproduce the boldness and flair of Saly’s drawings.
La Live de Jully, an aristocrat of enormous wealth who later occupied the honourable court office of Introducteur des Ambassadeurs, was a prominent art collector and one of the most important patrons of Jean-Baptiste Greuze (see exhibition catalogue Artists and Amateurs. Etching in 18th-century France, published by Perrin Stein, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 2013, p. 143ff, p. 196, no. 83). La Live produced a quite significant printed oeuvre including reproductive prints after Natoire and Greuze as well as book illustrations. The Receuil de Caricatures, however, is undeniably his supreme artistic achievement. The series was evidently printed in a very small edition and probably intended for a narrow circle of friends and members of the Academy. Some of the prints in this cycle are, therefore, of the utmost rarity. Very fine, contrasting early impressions with the full margins, before the numbers. Slightly foxed, occasional blemishes in the margins, otherwise in excellent condition.