Exhibition | Works from the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm
François Boucher, The Triumph of Venus, 1740, oil on canvas, 130 x 162 cm
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Paintings and Drawings from the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm (title forthcoming)
Musée du Louvre, Paris, 20 October 2016 — 16 January 2017
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 5 February — 14 May 2017
Seventy-six masterpieces of painting and drawing from the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm will make a rare appearance in New York beginning February 5, 2017 at the Morgan Library & Museum. The Nationalmuseum is Sweden’s largest and most distinguished museum, and it is lending to the Morgan outstanding works by Dürer, Raphael, Rubens, Rembrandt, Antoine Watteau, and François Boucher, among many celebrated artists. It is the first collaboration between the two institutions in almost fifty years.
“We are delighted to host this exhibition of treasures from the Nationalmuseum of Stockholm,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum. “The selection of paintings and drawings is of extraordinary quality. Fine examples of work from the Italian, French, and Northern European schools are represented, with a group of sixty master drawings forming the heart of the show. We are deeply grateful to the museum’s director general Berndt Arell and his curatorial staff for making this collaboration possible.”
The exhibition will run through May 14, 2017 and continues a tradition at the Morgan of presenting drawings and other work from some of Europe’s most august institutions. Over the last several years, the Morgan has featured critically acclaimed shows from the Uffizi in Florence, the Louvre, and the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich.
The Nationalmuseum’s core holdings were assembled by Count Carl Gustav Tessin (1696–1770), a diplomat and one of the great art collectors of his day. The son and grandson of architects, Tessin held posts in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris, where he came into contact with the leading Parisian artists of the time and commissioned many works from them. By the time he left Paris in 1742, he had amassed a truly impressive collection of paintings and drawings.
Among the fourteen paintings in the exhibition are three commissioned by Tessin and exhibited at the 1740 Parisian Salon. These include Boucher’s Triumph of Venus, Jean-Baptiste Oudry’s Dachshound Pehr with Dead Game and Rifle, and a Portrait of Count Tessin by Jacques-André Joseph Aved, in which the collector is shown among his art, books, and medals. The group of paintings will also include six works by Jean-Siméon Chardin.
The drawings in the exhibition include works by Italian masters such as Domenico Ghirlandaio, Raphael, Giulio Romano, and Annibale Carracci. Northern European artists are represented by Dürer, Hendrik Goltzius, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, and Anthony van Dyck, among others. The French drawings begin with Primaticcio and practitioners of the Fountainebleau school and include works by Jacques Callot and Nicholas Poussin, as well as Count Tessin’s French contemporaries, Boucher, Chardin, and Antoine Watteau.
In the years following his return from France, Tessin encountered financial difficulties and was forced to sell much of his collection, with many of the finest works being acquired by the Swedish royal family. After the Count’s death, Swedish King Gustav III purchased most of his remaining works. Tessin’s holdings thus formed the nucleus of the Royal Museum of Sweden when it was created in 1794. It was later renamed the Nationalmuseum.