(Aix-en-Provence 1731 1731 - Paris 1788)
Design for a Decorative Panel with a Cherub Seated on a Globe
471 x 198 mm. (18 1/2 x 7 3/4 in.)
A related red chalk drawing of an ornamental panel by Cauvet, depicting Cupid Gardeners (Les amours jardiniers) and also engraved for the Receuil d’ornemens, shared the same provenance as the present sheet and is now in Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. Likewise from the Béhague collection are two similar drawings by Cauvet for boiseriepanels – one of Venus and Cupid and the other of A Nymph with a Vase of Flowers on her Head– which appeared at auction in 1995 and 2007 and are today in a private American collection.
Among other comparable drawings by Cauvet is a similar study for a vertical panel, drawn in red and black chalk, in the collection of the Kunstbibliothek in Berlin, and another arabesque design for a carved boiserie panel, in red chalk, in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York.
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, part of lot 107
Didier Aaron, Inc., New York, in 1996