Lot 66: François Duchatel Bruxelles, vers 1620 - vers 1690 Portrait de la famille Janssens Huile sur toile

Artcurial

November 14, 2016
Paris, France

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Description: François Duchatel Bruxelles, vers 1620 - vers 1690
Portrait de la famille Janssens
Huile sur toile
Signée et datée ''DUCHAS(...) / A° 1672.'' en bas à gauche (signature reprise)

Portrait of the Janssens family, oil on canvas, signed and dated, by F. Duchatel
h: 110 w: 180,50 cm

Provenance : Collection de Meester de Heyndonck, château d''Attre, au XIXe siècle ;
Puis par descendance

Expositions : ''Cinq siècles d''art. Peintures : art ancien bruxellois et sélections étrangères'', Exposition universelle et internationale de Bruxelles, 24 mai-13 oct. 1935, n° 270

Bibliographie : Francine-Claire Legrand, ''Les peintres flamands de genre au XVIIe siècle'', Bruxelles, 1963, p. 109
Bulletin des Musées royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, vol. 16, 1967, p. 200, fig. 28
Albert P. de Mirimonde, "Scènes de genre musicales de l''ecole française du XVIIIe siècle dans les collections nationales", in ''La Revue du Louvre et des musées de France'', 1968, n° 1, p. 18, note 15
Albert P. de Mirimonde, ''L''iconographie musicale sous les rois Bourbons'', 1977, p. 95

Commentaire : François Duchatel, actif à Bruxelles au XVIIe siècle, a parfois été considéré comme ayant été élève de David Teniers. Certaines de ses représentations de réjouissances villageoises peuvent en effet être rapprochées de l''art du maître flamand. Une vaste composition conservée au musée des Beaux-Arts de Gand, L''inauguration du roi d''Espagne Charles II comme comte de Flandres en 1666, est à n''en pas douter l''œuvre la plus renommée à ce jour de cet artiste dont l''œuvre reste à redécouvrir.
C''est cependant dans l''art des portraits de cabinets à plusieurs figures, également connus sous le nom de Conversation pieces1, que François Duchatel s''illustra. En marge des portraits d''apparats de plus grands formats, centrés sur les modèles en pied ou à mi-corps, qui parsèment la production des grands peintres tels que Rubens, Van Dyck ou encore Cornelis de Vos, ces portraits de groupes, de dimensions plus modestes, représentant le plus souvent des familles dans leur intérieur ou dans un parc, accessibles à un plus grand nombre de commanditaires, séduisirent les familles aisées des villes de Flandres et connurent un réel succès, notamment sous le pinceau de Gonzales Coques à Anvers.
Par leur mode de composition, ces Conversation pieces s''apparentent à la peinture de genre, très présente sur les murs des demeures en Flandres, et offrent la possibilité de mises en scènes variées. Le Portrait de la famille Janssens de François Duchatel est un merveilleux témoignage de cet art du portrait renouvelé. Dans un somptueux palais de marbre orné de quelques antiques, les membres d''une famille élégamment vêtus sont installés. Le père et la mère sont au centre, vraisemblablement entourés de leurs enfants. A droite de la composition, du côté de Madame Janssens, trois fillettes jouent avec un petit chien et confectionnent des bouquets de fleurs pour leur mère. A gauche, du côté de Monsieur Janssens se trouvent les jeunes garçons occupés à la lecture et à l''écriture. A l''arrière-plan l''aînée de la famille est assise au clavecin, instrument fréquent dans les intérieurs des demeures dans l''Europe du XVIIe siècle et objet d''éducation essentiel des jeunes filles bien nées.
Le patronyme de Janssens était très répandu dans les Flandres et nous ne pouvons déterminer avec certitude l''identité des modèles de cet ambitieux portrait. Paul Mantz nous apprend néanmoins que l''un des fils de François Duchatel épousa la fille du peintre Victor-Honoré Janssens2. Le succès de ces portraits de famille traversa les frontières et atteignit également la France de Louis XIV. Le portraitiste François de Troy se fit une spécialité de ces rassemblements familiaux sur la toile et son fils Jean-François en réalisa à sa suite, comme en témoigne le ''Portrait de la famille de Franqueville'', œuvre à deux mains conservée au musée de la Chartreuse de Douai (fig. 1)3. Daté de 1711, ce portrait de groupe à l''architecture classique et à la jeune fille au clavecin se situe dans la lignée directe des Conversation pieces flamandes et de la famille Janssens de François Duchatel.

1. Voir notamment Hans Vlieghe, ''Flemish Art and Architecture 1585-1700'', New Haven-Londres, 1998, p. 146 à 148
2. " François Duchatel ", in Charles Blanc, ''Histoire des peintres de toutes les écoles. Ecole flamande'', Paris, 1895, p. 242
3. Voir D. Brême, ''François de Troy'', Paris, 1997, p. 164 et Ch. Leribault, ''Jean-François de Troy'', Paris, 2002, p. 224, n° P. 29



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