Making a Scene in Paris in the Age of Louis XIV
Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Charles Le Brun (French, 1619–1690). Everhard Jabach (1618–1695) and His Family, ca. 1660. Oil on canvas; 110 1/4 x 129 1/8 in. (280 x 328 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, 2014 (2014.250)
«Ever wonder what it would have been like to live in Paris in the golden age of the French monarchy and to have the money to do it in style?» That's what the German banker Everhard Jabach did. He moved to Paris in 1638, built a luxurious mansion near the present-day Centre Pompidou (alas, destroyed), and formed one of the most significant collections of paintings and drawings of his day. Most of his works ended up in the Louvre Museum—but not the picture the Metropolitan just bought!
The work shows Jabach and his family in their grand mansion, together with objects symbolizing his cultural interests and, reflected in a mirror, the artist Charles Le Brun at his easel. The family sold the picture in 1791; since 1832, it has been in a country house in England, with the top bit of canvas folded over because of its huge size (see the painting's object record for details). Just getting the work to the Metropolitan was an ordeal.
We took some photographs of the work as it entered the building and made its way to the Museum's Sherman Fairchild Center for Paintings Conservation, its home for the next few months.
Riggers opening the crate containing the picture. The work needed to be shipped with minimal packing material in order to fit on a cargo flight. Photograph by Andrew Caputo
Putting the picture on a side-truck for transport to the Museum's Sherman Fairchild Center for Paintings Conservation. Photograph by Andrew Caputo
Riggers loading the work onto an easel in the conservation studio. Sheets of facing paper were applied to portions of the canvas as protection before the work was transported. Photograph by Andrew Caputo
Met staff admiring the new acquisition in its temporary home in conservation. Photograph by Andrew Caputo
The picture is now being cleaned for its debut sometime next year. Check in over the next few months for updates.