Treasure trove of drawings
This exhibition reveals the exceptional character of the collection of drawings of the Duke of Aumale’s cabinet, held at the Condé museum in Chantilly. Discover more than 2,000 historical portraits, scenes from the history of France, masterpieces of the great French, Italian and Nordic masters put online on Mona Lisa, the collective catalogue of the collections of museums in France.
Credits: this content was originally published on the Mona Lisa website. It was established in 2005 by Nicole Garnier, chief curator of the Condé Museum, and Jeannette Ivain of the French Museum Service. The museum’s records are online on POP, an open heritage platform.
Presentation of the collection
The Condé Museum traces the history of its drawing office, formed in the second half of the 19th century by Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale (1822 - 1897), son of King Louis-Philippe. The Duke of Aumale was undoubtedly the greatest collector of his time.
A young soldier, the Duke of Aumale distinguished himself in Algeria in 1843 and became its governor at the age of twenty-five. The 1848 revolution broke his career. Exiled in England for twenty-three years, from 1848 to 1871 and forced into inactivity, this young soldier became a historian, which would strongly mark his collections.
Of Chantilly’s 2500 drawings, a large part consists of historical portraits and scenes from the history of France.
Subsequently, the Duke of Aumale also bought the masterpieces of the great French, Italian and Nordic masters that he found on the art market to build his artistic collection.
The Joconde database, a collective catalogue of museums in France, provides access to the complete collection of drawings by the Duke of Aumale (records and images).
The Duke of Aumale, reduced to exile, had the will to acquire masterpieces of French art exiled like him abroad, hoping one day to bring them back to France. This idea has supported his approach as a collector throughout his life. The notoriety of his collection allows him to buy large collections in bulk.
In 1857, the Duke of Aumale acquired his first drawings of Clouet. But it was in 1889 that his collection was enriched with the 311 drawings of Clouet (Jean and François Clouet) by Lord Carlisle. From the 16th century, it also preserves drawings by Antoine Caron, Etienne and Jean Delaune.
Discover on Mona Lisa
In 1861, the Duke of Aumale bought the collection of Frédéric Reiset (1815 - 1891), collector and curator of drawings from the Louvre Museum. This collection consisted of 381 drawings by masters including Le Lorrain, Poussin, Le Sueur.
With the sales of Desperet in 1865 and Wellesley in 1866, the Duke of Aumale completed his collection of Le Lorrain et Poussin.
In 1876, he bought in England the collection of historical portraits formed by Alexandre Lenoir, founder of the Musée des Monuments français (69 paintings and 148 drawings including those of Dumonstier, Nanteuil).
Discover on Mona Lisa
In 1861, with the purchase of Frédéric Reiset’s collection, the Duke of Aumale possessed Watteau’s drawings.
In 1867, the purchase of the Marquis Maison collection brought works by Greuze, Watteau and especially Prud'hon. Completed in 1881 with the purchase of Count Dejean’s Prud'hon.
In 1877, the Duke of Aumale bought in England from Major Duff Gordon Duff the 450 portraits of Carmontelle representing the court of the Duke of Orleans at the Royal Palace in the second half of the century.
Discover on Mona Lisa
The Duke of Aumale’s taste goes to Orientalism. In 1864, he buys the album of Morocco (1832) and drawings for sale after Delacroix’s death. Two years later he bought works by Decamps, Marilhat, Pils and Charlet from Durand-Ruel. In 1868 he acquired a drawing of Horace Vernet and other drawings of Decamps with the collection of the Marquis Maison.
In 1877, at the sale of the expert Féral, the Duke of Aumale bought works by Gravelot and Delacroix and in 1880, 600 drawings by Raffet especially on the wars of Algeria.
Finally in 1882, he completed his collection of drawings by Géricault and Ingres during the Jean Gigoux sale.
Discover on Mona Lisa
At first, the Duke of Aumale had a taste for history. But the prince will have the opportunity to access the large private collections.
In June 1860, in addition to these historical drawings, the duke chose two Raphael and two Michelangelo. In 1861, with the purchase of the Reiset collection, 158 Italian drawings were added. A year later, he acquired the "naked Mona Lisa" then attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.
In 1881, the Duke of Aumale completed his Italian collection at the Ch. Sackville Bale with "La Calomnie d'Apelle" by Botticelli, "The Grand Canal in Venice" attributed to Canaletto and the "Saint Peter martyr" of Titian. In 1882, during the sale of Jean Gigoux, he chose "Le Christ au roseau" by Guerchin and "Joseph explaining the dreams" by Domenico Tiepolo.
18th or 19th century
German and Nordic schools
In 1861, with the purchase of Frédéric Reiset’s collection, the Duke of Aumale began his collection of Nordic masters. It was completed with the purchase of the Desperet collection in 1865 and especially with the sale of A.G. de Visser in Amsterdam in 1881 for Dutch drawings. The sale Ch. Sackville Bale in 1881 also brought some Dutch drawings.
Reduced to inactivity, the Duke of Aumale devotes himself to writing a monumental "History of the Princes of Condé"and began to collect historical portraits, then he also became interested in the masterpieces of the great French, Italian and Nordic masters. If the first purchases are isolated pieces, acquired on the art market, the notoriety of his collection will allow him to buy in bulk large collections.
- Utterson Sale 1857 purchase of the first historical portraits of the 16th century (Clouet)
- Sale of English art dealer Samuel Woodburn 1860 beginning of the artistic collection: Raphaël, Michel-Ange, Rubens
- Collection of Frédéric Reiset(1815-1891) 1861 purchase of 381 pieces in all: Raphaël, Primatice, Dürer, Poussin, Lorrain, Le Sueur, Watteau...
- Gavard Sale 1863 purchase of 60 drawings from the Galeries Historiques de Versailles
- Sale after death of Delacroix 1864 purchase of the Morocco album (1832)
- Vente Despéret 1865 purchase of drawings by Poussin, Guardi, Boissieu, Marilhat, Decamps
- Wellesley Sale 1866 purchase of the first Claude Lorrain, Canaletto, Pérelle
- Marquis House Collection 1868 purchase of oriental drawings by Decamps, works by Greuze, Watteau and especially Prud'hon
- Collection of Alexandre Lenoir 1876 purchase of the collection of historical portraits formed by Alexandre Lenoir, founder of the Musée des Monuments français: Clouet, Dumonstier, Nanteuil, Watteau, etc.
- Major Duff Gordon Duff Collection 1877 purchase of 450 portraits of Carmontelle, representing the court of the Duke of Orleans at the Palais-Royal in the second half of the 18th century.
- Raffet albums 1880 purchase of Raffet’s albums of 600 drawings, especially on the Algerian wars.
- Collection of Count Dejean 1881 purchase of drawings by Prud'hon
- Sale of Visser 1881 purchase of Dutch drawings
- Sackville Bale Sale 1881 purchase of drawings Botticelli, Canaletto, Titian, Wouvermans
- Jean Gigoux Sale 1882 purchase of drawings by Guerchin, Tiepolo, Géricault, Ingres
- Sale of Lord Carlisle 1889 Purchase in England of 311 Clouet
- Destailleur Sale 1896 Purchase of the album of Du Cerceau, Saint-Aubin and portraits of the 16th