Alexandre HESSE (Paris 1806 - Paris 1879)

Saint Joseph Sold

Black, red and white chalk on light brown paper.
451 x 355 mm. (17 3/4 x 14 in.)

ACQUIRED BY THE FRANCES LEHMAN LOEB ART CENTER, VASSAR COLLEGE, POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK.

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This fine sheet is a study for the figure of Saint Joseph at the left edge of Hesse’s large mural painting of The Adoration of the Shepherds in the choir of the church of Saint-Julien, in the town of Chevry-en-Sereine, near Nemours. Signed and dated 1863, the painting is one of four mural scenes from the life of Christ commissioned in May 1861 by Mme. Amélie Brisson, owner of the château at Chevry-en-Sereine and a longstanding patron of the artist. Also included in the commission for the decoration of the church, for which the artist received 20,000 francs, were nine paintings of standing saints and a design for a stained-glass window.

Two preparatory studies for the Adoration of the Shepherds are among the large group of drawings by the artist left to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris at his death in 1879. These are studies for the young child standing at the centre right foreground and for the shepherd carrying a sheep, also in the centre of the composition. Among other preparatory studies for the painting is a drawing for the head of a donkey, on the art market in 1979, and a figure study for the kneeling shepherd in the right foreground, in the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Provenance:
Galerie Pierre Gaubert, Paris, in 1979
Private collection, Lyon.

Literature:
Marie-Madeleine Aubrun, Alexandre Hesse 1806-1879: Quelques aspects du portraitiste et du dessinateur, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 1979, unpaginated, no.31, illustrated on the cover; Michael Clarke, Poussin to Seurat: French Drawings from the National Gallery of Scotland, exhibition catalogue, London and Edinburgh, 2010-2011, p.76, under no.33.

Alexandre HESSE

Saint Joseph

381

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