Exhibition | A Swede in Paris: The Tessin Collection
François Boucher, The Triumph of Venus, 1740, oil on canvas, 130 × 162 cm
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Opening in October at the Louvre:
A Swede in Paris in the 18th Century: The Tessin Collection
Un Suédois à Paris au 18e siècle: La collection Tessin
Musée du Louvre, Paris, 20 October 2016 — 16 January 2017
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 5 February — 14 May 2017
Organized by Xavier Salmon, Guillaume Faroult, Juliette Trey, Magnus Olausson, and Carina Fryklund
Although not officially bearing the title, Count Carl Gustaf Tessin acted as Swedish ambassador in Paris from 1739 to 1741. A passionate collector of paintings and drawings during those three years, he became a friend of Pierre-Jean Mariette and acquired works at the remarkable Crozat sale in 1741.
Heavily in debt on his return to Sweden, Tessin was obliged to sell part of his collection of paintings to King Frederick I, who gave them to Queen Louisa Ulrika. In 1750 the count also had to part with his collection of drawings, which was acquired by Crown Prince Adolf Frederick.
Organized in tandem with the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, now home to the greater part of Tessin’s collection, the exhibition takes a combined chronological and thematic approach to his modus operandi. In doing so, it also provides an insight into the art market and Parisian taste in the mid-18th century.
Magnus Olausson | Les relations artistiques entre la France et la Suède au XVIIIe siècle
Musée du Louvre, 24 October 2016, 6:30pm
Guillaume Faroult, Xavier Salmon, and Juliette Trey | Présentation d’exposition
Musée du Louvre, 27 October 2016, 12:30pm
Xavier Salmon | Les maisons de Carl Gustaf Tessin
Musée du Louvre, 31 October 2016, 6:30pm
Guillaume Faroult | Carl Gustaf Tessin, un goût parisien pour la peinture
Musée du Louvre, 7 November 2016, 6:30pm
Xavier Salmon, Guillaume Faroult, and Juliette Trey, Un Suédois à Paris au 18e siècle: La collection Tessin (Paris: Coédition Liénart), 254 pages, ISBN: 235906178X / ISBN: 978-2359061789, 35€.
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Press release from the Nationalmuseum:
The 18th century marked a peak in the artistic relationship between France and Sweden. French art was very influential in Sweden, and conversely a Swedish count, Carl Gustaf Tessin, played a significant role in the artistic life of the French capital for a brief but intense period.
Tessin served as Swedish ambassador in Paris from 1739 to 1742. In this role, he was involved in top-secret political negotiations, but the enduring legacy of his time in France was the extensive contacts he made in the art world and the many works of art he acquired.
No other personal art collection assembled in 18th-century Paris remains as intact as Tessin’s, which documents how artistic styles and tastes evolved in the city at the height of the Rococo period. The collection now belongs to Nationalmuseum, where it is one of the crown jewels.
An exclusive selection of 120 notable works from the Tessin collection is on show at the Louvre in autumn 2016. A lavishly illustrated catalogue has been published to coincide with the exhibition, featuring various articles about Tessin and his collection based on new research. This co-production by Nationalmuseum and the Louvre is the first of its kind for many years. The exhibition will move on, in a modified version, to the Morgan Library in New York, where it goes on show in spring 2017.
Note — Programming, catalogue information, and the Nationalmuseum press release were added 13 October 2016. The original posting also did not include The Morgan as a venue, though a separate posting did address the exhibition in New York.