JEAN RESTOUT (Rouen 1692-1768 Paris)
The Rest on the Flight to Egypt
black and white chalk, on brown (formerly blue) paper mounted on canvas
2134 x 1814 in. (55.5 x 46.5 cm)
Collection Henri Michel-Lévy (1844-1914), Paris; Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 12-13 May 1919, lot 40 (as by François Boucher).
Georges Bottellier-Lasquin (1882-1932), Paris; Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 7-8 June 1928, lot 22 (as by François Boucher).
P. Rosenberg and A. Schnapper, ‘Some New Restout Drawings’, Master Drawings, XV, no. 2, Summer 1977, p. 168, pl. 30b.
P. Rosenberg, in La Collection A.P. de Mirimonde (legs aux musées de Gray et de Tours), Paris, 1987, pp. 74-75, ill.
C. Gouzi, Jean Restout, 1692-1768. Peintre dhistoire à Paris, Paris, 2000, no. D108, ill.
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Lot Essay

This large drawing, executed in black and white chalk on paper laid down on canvas, is related to a celebrated picture of the same subject exhibited at the Salon of 1753, now in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, inv. 1053 (fig. 1; Gouzi, op. cit., no. P.162, ill.). Admired by several critics for its bright and luminous palette, the painting was described as executed in an excessively free style. Jean-Bernard Leblanc noted, however, that it was ‘a small painting that makes a great effect, what we can expect from the masters of the art’ (quoted ibid., p. 298). The painting entered the collection of Louis-Antoine Crozat, Baron de Thiers, nephew of the famous collector of drawings Pierre Crozat, soon after the Salon. At Crozat de Thiers’ death, in 1770, Restout’s work went, with the rest of the collection, to Empress Catherine II of Russia.
Until now, the present drawing was known only from a photograph in the catalogue of the 1928 sale of Georges Lasquin’s collection, when it was attributed to François Boucher. The finished quality of the composition, and the fact that the drawing is mounted on canvas and framed as a painting, suggests that this is a ricordo of the Salon painting, rather than a preparatory study for it. A preparatory study for the painting in Moscow survives in the collection of the Harvard Art Museums (inv. 1960 173; see Gouzi, op. cit., no. D107, ill.) and bears the date 1752. Among other versions of the subject is a painting at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tours (inv. 986 1 5; see ibid., no. P.171, ill.).
Fig. 1. Jean Restout, The Rest on the Flight to Egypt. Pushkin Museum, Moscow.

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