(Aix-en-Provence 1731 1731 - Paris 1788)
Design for a Decorative Panel with Two Sirens Holding a Vase Embellished with Dolphins and other Decorative Motifs
473 x 187 mm. (18 5/8 x 7 3/8 in.)
The present sheet was engraved by Simon Charles Miger for the Receuil.
In the 1780s Cauvet worked on the design of several public buildings in his hometown of Aix-en-Provence and in nearby Marseille. At a time, in the third quarter of the 18th century, when sculpture and relief work in wood or stucco began to dominate the field of interior decoration, where previously painted decorative schemes had prevailed, Cauvet’s distinctive style, with its use of motifs such as acanthus leaves, scrolls and so forth, was characterized by a particular lightness and elegance. In March 1789, the year after Cauvet’s death, much of the contents of his atelier were dispersed at auction, although some works remained in the family and passed to his granddaughter, Henriette Hélix Cauvet, Mme. Ernest Lefevre, and were in turn sold at auction in Paris in 1883.
Cauvet’s drawings are quite rare, although important groups of ornamental drawings by the artist are in the Kunstbibliothek in Berlin, the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. The collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York includes an album of some fifty designs by the artist for fountains, arabesques, furniture and silverware, while other decorative drawings by Cauvet are in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lille, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and Pierpont Morgan Library in New York.
Thence by descent until 1995
Sale (‘Ancienne collection de la Comtesse de Béhague’), Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 29 November 1995, lot 105 (sold for 34,365 francs)
Kate de Rothschild, London, in 1996