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Antoine Maxime Monsaldy

(1768–1816, Paris)

and G. Devisme. Vue des Ouvrages de Peinture. Two etchings. Each approx. 38 x 53 cm. Not included in Nagler or Le Blanc, Hennin 12681, Benezit IX 298.

The etcher and engraver, Antoine Maxime Monsaldy, studied from 1787 to 1791 under Jean François Pierre Peyron at the Académie Royale in Paris. After 1800 he lived and worked for a lengthy period in Rome. Monsaldy produced a number of much sought-after stipple engraved portraits, printed in colour, of such prominent figures as the Empress Josephine Bonaparte and the Empress Marie Louise. He also tackled subjects from antiquity and the contemporary revolutionary period, distinguishing himself, in particular, with various large engraved views of the Paris Salon in the years VI to X.

The two prints on offer here, which Antoine Monsaldy produced together with a lesser-known engraver by the name of G. Devisme and published under the title Vue des Ouvrages de Peinture des Artistes Vivants Exposés au Museum Centrale, provide a very vivid impression of the Salon exhibition of 1800 and are thus among the earliest depictions of the Paris Salon after the French Revolution. Even after the dissolution in 1793 of the Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture, which had organised the Paris Salons, exhibitions continued to be held on a regular basis, although they were now under the directorship of the Commune Générale des Arts. Changes in the format of the exhibitions introduced at this time concerned first and foremost the quantity of works on display. In complete accordance with the democratic aspirations of the French Revolution, the Salon became a forum for a much larger number of artists. The wide range of works on show attracted huge numbers of art lovers and made the exhibition an extremely popular social event. Our two very concise depictions give a lively impression of the large crowds of people in the huge rooms. In addition to the numerous elegantly clad visitors, who are portrayed with minute attention to detail, it is the meticulously reproduced and often readily identifiable paintings on the high walls which constitute the charm of Monsaldy’s snapshots. The two prints are of great rarity.

Very fine, contrasting impressions with the full image respectively with thread margins around the platemark. Minor ­handling marks, otherwise in excellent condition. Literature: Heinrich S. J. Becker, Studien zur Ikonographie des Kunstbe­trachters im 17., 18. und 19. Jahrhundert, Aachen 2005, p. 156f.

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