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Fondation Custodia
E-news #14
March 2022
Some time has passed since the start of 2022, and in the meantime the Fondation Custodia has welcomed thousands of visitors to two exhibitions—True to Nature. Open-air Painting 1780-1870 and Charles Donker. Always Looking.
Until now, Frits Lugt’s collection of Dutch paintings lacked a ‘Koortegaard’, a corruption of the French expression ‘corps de garde’ (guardroom), a type of composition that was a genre in its own right in the seventeenth century. These were scenes of mercenaries and/or civilians passing the time with gaming and women before having to put in another appearance on the battlefield.
The earliest letters by Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) were addressed to schoolmates who became lifelong friends. They are an indispensable source for their author’s life during these years, his states of mind, his discovery of literature, the theatre, music, nature and hunting, and his first steps on the path to becoming a painter. We were able to acquire seven of these epistles in 2021, along with many more letters from other periods of Delacroix’s long career.
Until 3 April 2022
In the second half of the eighteenth century, the practice of painting landscape oil sketches in the open air became widespread across Europe. Nurtured by philosophical writings, scientific enquiry and poetic sentiment, artists ventured outside their studios with portable painting kits, working quickly before the motif in order to train their eyes and hands in transcribing fleeting effects of light and atmosphere.
Until 3 April 2022
Charles Donker is an etcher who lives and works in Utrecht, where he was born in 1940. His technique, and the renowned delicacy of his work, place him among the greatest Dutch graphic artists of his time. Donker works principally ‘on the spot’. ‘I do not know how to be anywhere other than out of doors’, the draughtsman and printmaker confesses. ‘I need to see the sky, hear the rustling of the trees, watch the birds flying about and experience nature’s profound silence. I would be seriously unhappy if I could no longer go outside’.
Notes on the drawings of
in the Fondation Custodia
Since the year 1980, the Fondation Custodia has had in its possession a landscape drawing, dated and located ‘Moulin de Tosi près vall’ombrosa 1793’ (‘Watermill in Tosi near Vallombrosa, 1793’). The spacious, hilly landscape is traversed by a shaft of light which illuminates a road with a low, single-vaulted bridge and a stone building, the mill, on the right-hand side. On the left, elegant shady trees lean over the water course, echoing the rhythm of the chestnut trees and other plants and bushes.
In 2020 the Fondation Custodia bought a watercolour by the Dutch artist Johannes Bosboom (1817-1891). It is a view, not previously published, of the artist’s studio and a splendid addition to the Fondation Custodia’s existing watercolours.
Very few drawings by young apprentice artists survive from the Renaissance. They must have looked much like the drawings children bring home from school today – as the painting by Gian Francesco Caroto (1480-1555), now in Verona, suggests.
Three albums of drawings by the Dutch artist Louis Charles Hora Siccama (Utrecht 1807 – 1880 Utrecht), recently acquired by the Fondation Custodia, were the subject of comprehensive conservation and restoration work in 2020 and 2021.
For many years, people coming to 121 rue de Lille have been using the bench which stands in front of the giant mirror, over the tessellated paving on the ground floor of Hôtel Lévis-Mirepoix. They wait on it, or rest on it, probably without knowing that it dates from the eighteenth century and that it is an integral part of the collection of the Fondation Custodia.
In October last year, 166 drawings of Rembrandt and his circle were added to our online collection database, which already contained the Italian drawings.
The new series of videos Treasures of the Fondation Custodia highlights works from the Fondation’s collections, introduced by its curators and librarians. Three videos are currently to be discovered.
Our founder Frits Lugt would walk around Amsterdam trying to establish where Rembrandt may have sketched (from life) his landscapes, farms and polders. Going out and travelling have been more or less banned activities of late. During the period of lockdown, the library team have continued to acquire books, periodicals and catalogues.
New Publication
From time immemorial people have been fascinated by birds and have created images of their winged companions. The artist Peter Vos (1935-2010) was one of them. He kept bird diaries in which he noted down the birds he came across and captured them in pen and ink and watercolour.
Fondation Custodia / Collection Frits Lugt
121 rue de Lille 75007 Paris
Tél. : +33 (0)1 47 05 75 19