(Aubusson 1768 - Lyon 1809)
A Male Blue-Throated Barbet (Megalaima asiatica)
Signed Barraband in brown ink in the centre.
Numbered No.21 in pencil at the lower right, and 24 / x245 in pencil at the upper right.
522 x 386 mm. (20 1/2 x 15 1/4 in.)
As one writer has noted of Barraband’s watercolours for Levaillant, ‘they are considered among the most beautiful bird drawings in existence. Barraband often showed his subject in profile, perched on a short tree branch jutting into the empty space of the sheet; no one else equalled his mastery in the rendering of feathers, in evoking their fragility, stiffness, or incredible lightness. He displayed a preference for harmonies of blue and green…The evocative power of these realistic and precise works, featuring all the colours of the rainbow, is almost dream-inducing.’
The present sheet was once part of the exceptional collection of French ornithological watercolours of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries - including some three hundred works by Jacques Barraband - assembled in the 1920s and 1930s by the French industrialist and bibliophile Marcel Jeanson (1885-1942).
Thence by descent until 1988
Jeanson sale (‘Bibliothèque Marcel Jeanson, deuxieme partie: Ornithologie’), Monaco, Sotheby’s, 16 June 1988, lot 241
W. Graham Arader, New York