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PIERRE-FRANÇOIS-LÉONARD FONTAINE (1762-1853)
  • PIERRE-FRANÇOIS-LÉONARD FONTAINE (1762-1853)

    A GROUP OF STUDIES AFTER THE ANTIQUE AND 

    CLASSICAL ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS

    Variously inscribed with titles, locations & notes, one bearing the estate stamp (L.5859, see note below)

    Pen & ink with brush & wash on laid paper

    Various Sizes - Framed, each work measures 62.5 x 50 cm

     

    Literature:

    D. Di Castro & S.P. Fox, Disegni Dall'antico: Di Pierre-Francois-Leonard Fontaine, 1762-1855 - Architetto Di Napoleone, Florence (2007), image 2 repr. for front cover illustration;

     

    Provenance:

    By descent from the artist to his daughter Aimé-Sophie Dupuis (b.1803) & her husband, Fontaine's pupil, the architect Louis-Symphorien Meunié (1795-1871);

    An Unknown Collector of the artist's work (Lugt 5859 - 'Most of Fontaine's known drawings do not bear the mark described here, and we still do not know who put it on some of them, and on what date.' Lugt online ed., 2010);

    Private Collection, Italy

     

     

     

    This outstanding group of studies from Fontaine's sojourn in Italy comes from one of several albums compiled either by the artist himself, his daughter or an as-yet-anonymous executor, with further examples including similar studies after the antique and archiecture observed by Fontaine in Rome sold recently at Christie's, Paris, 23.03.2006, Lot 330; and Ader, Paris, 11.06.2021, Lot 51. 

     

    The following locations and subjects are identifiable in the present group:

    * The Theatre of Marcellus (a sarcophagus)

    * The Vatican & St Peter's Basilica (various sculptures)

    * The Arch of Septimus in the Forum Romana

     

     

    Pierre François Léonard Fontaine, better known as Pierre Fontaine, was one of the most important designer-architects of the late 18th and early 19th centuries in France, helping to shape the aesthetic ‘movement’ that would come to be described as La Gout Empire. He is chiefly remembered for the fruits of his partnership with Charles Percier (1764-1838), with the two men publishing several hugely influential volumes on decoration: Palais, maisons et autres édifices modernes dessinés à Rome (Paris 1798) ; Recueil de décorations intérieures (Paris 1801 ; 2nd edition with an extended introduction, 1812) ; Le sacre de S.M. l’Empereur Napoléon dans l’église métropolitaine de Paris, le XI frimaire an XIII dimanche 2 décembre 1804 (Paris 1804) ; Description des cérémonies et des fêtes qui ont eu lieu pour le couronnement de leurs Majestés Napoléon, empereur des Français et roi d’Italie, et Joséphine son auguste épouse. Recueil de décorations exécutées dans l’église Notre-Dame de Paris et au Champ-de-Mars (Paris 1807), and Choix des plus célèbres maisons de plaisance de Rome et de ses environs (Paris 1809).

     

    Fontaine’s activity is well-documented between 1799-1853 thanks to the diary he meticulously kept, the manuscript of which is kept at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris (for a facsimile edition, see that published in Paris, 1987). On March 9, 1811, Fontaine was elected a member of the Academy of Fine Arts and, on July 5, he was decorated with the Legion of Honor. Between 1811 and 1812, he was elected corresponding member of several academies in Europe: Amsterdam, Antwerp, Munich and Rome.

     

     

    Fontaine had adopted a daughter, Anne-Sophie Dupuis (born in 1803), who married in 1827 the architect Symphorien-Louis Meunié (1795-1871), a pupil of Fontaine. The latter inherited the drawings and books from her father's library, which then passed to the couple's son, Georges Meunié (1833-1927). Georges married Félicie d'Hostel (1843-1935) and it is her ex-libris that appears in the Piranèse copy. Other drawings were transmitted to their descendants, namely the Dallemand collection, but the stamp described here does not appear on all the books and collections of drawings, as evidenced for example by the album of drawings of a Voyage to the Castle of 'Eu (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. 2008.337a-ee), or the album of 160 drawings from the Italian sojourn, which were sold in 2021. In 1927, the Burnham Library at the University of Chicago also purchased 441 books from Fontaine's descendants (see van Zanten 1988).

     

     

    • bibliography

      (I) H. Lebas, ‘Funérailles de Monsieur Fontaine’, Procès-verbaux des séances de l’Institut de France, vol. 23, Paris (1853), pp. 3-5.
      (II) M. Fouché, Percier et Fontaine, Paris (1907);
      (III) M.-L. Biver, Pierre Fontaine. Premier architecte de l’Empereur, Paris (1964);
      (IV) P.F.L. Fontaine, Journal 1799-1853, 2 vol., Paris (1987);
      (V) D. van Zanten, ‘Fontaine in the Burnham Library’, The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, no. 13 (1988), vol. 2, pp. 132-145;
      (VI) C.D. Armstrong, ‘Fontaine, Pierre-François-Léonard’, in Saur, Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon. Die Bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker, vol. 42, Munich-Leipzig (2004), pp. 110-114;
      (VII) J.-Ph. Garric, Percier & Fontaine. Villas de Rome, Wavre (2005);
      D. di Castro, S.P. Fox, Disegni dall’antico di P.F.L. Fontaine (1762-1855), architetto di Napoleone, Florence (2007);
      (VIII) J.-P. Samoyault, ‘Sur quelques dessins d’art décoratif provenant de l’architecte Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine’, Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de l’Art français (année 2009) (2010), pp. 233-255.
      (IX) M. Heng, ‘Dessins d’après l’antique de P.F.L. Fontaine’, Bulletin de la Société Archéologique du Midi de la France, vol. LXXI (2011), pp. 251-276.
      (X) J.-Ph. Garric, Percier & Fontaine. Les architectes de Napoléon, Paris (2012);
      (XI) M. Heng, ‘Un fonds inédit d’œuvres, archives et collections provenant de l’architecte Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853)’, Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de l’Art français (année 2011) (2012), pp. 63-94 

    £20,000.00Price