Étienne de Lavallée-Poussin (French, Rouen 1733–1793 Paris)
Juste Nathan Boucher (French 1736–1782)
Pen and black ink with brush and gray, brown, green, and blue washes over graphite underdrawing.
Sheet: 7 3/4 × 10 1/4 in. (19.7 × 26.1 cm)
Drawings, Ornament & Architecture
Purchase, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1971
Not on view
This detailed wall design by the artist Étienne de Lavallée-Poussin is a very beautiful example of how elements from Classical Antiquity were adapted to fit a modern-day 18th-century interior. The overall scheme of his design – a fireplace in the center, combined with painted wall panels and the torchères - goes back to 17th-century French examples, but the individual parts are all attuned to the latest taste for neoclassical design. He combines stern architectural elements with a light sculptural relief and playful decorations to form a very original scheme. Several mythological themes are introduced in the décor. The wall panels portray the Venus and Adonis (left) and Diana, goddess of the hunt (right), while in the sculptural details we find Leda and the Swan and Venus and Cupid. The partially applied washes indicate that many elements were to be gilded. The artist also added an alternate view for the fireplace with the hearth opened up, a detail which has unfortunately been lost, but can be deduced from the abraded strip on the bottom of the sheet where the addition was originally attached.
Inscription: On verso in lower right, in graphite, "cat 37" (Sullivan Kauffman catalogue number)
Manning (British); Edgar Kaufman (London); Sullivan Kaufman (British, 1908–1998)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Living in Style: Five Centuries of Interior Design from the Collection of Drawings and Prints," June 17, 2013–September 9, 2013.
Sullivan Kaufman, George Knox Fantastic and Ornamental Drawings: A Selection of Drawings from the Kaufman Collection Exh. cat. Portsmouth College of Art and Design. Portsmouth, 1969, cat. no. 37.