LAWRENCE STEIGRAD FINE ARTS

Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and British Portraits

<<
<
>

ANGEL-ALEXIO MICHAUT (Paris b. 1879)

A Kermess on St. George’s Day and A Feast at Harvest-Time with the House of Drij Toren in the Background: A Pair of Paintings

both oil on panel

both 7 ½ x 9 ½ inches          (19 x 24 cm.)


PROVENANCE

Oatway Collection, London

Hiram Burlingham, New York

Anonymous sale, Christie’s, New York, June 18, 1982, lot 149 where purchased by

Private Collection, New York until the present tim

 

Angel-Alexio Michaut (or Michault) was a painter and miniaturist.  He was trained by his father and began exhibiting works in 1899 at the Salon des Artistes Francais.  He also exhibited at the Salon des Independants from 1925-1946. [1]  There is surprisingly little else known about his career, a fact which must be attributable to his custom of doing small works after earlier masters. [2]  Further confusion has been caused by these works not being signed, or when done in pairs with only one signed and later split apart, the artist’s identity became lost. 

This pair was executed from prints after David Teniers the Younger. (For a similar set of panels by the artist after David Teniers the Younger see: Christie’s, New York, June 5, 1980, lot 258, Figures Dancing Outside an Inn, and Figures Feasting Outside a House, both signed A. Michaut .F. and inscribed D. Teniers, both oil on panel, and both 7 ¾ x 10 ½ inches). 

The Kermess on St. George’s Day features a large crowd dancing and drinking to the music of a bagpiper and a hurdygurdist.  Crowds are jammed into a covered porch of a tavern from whose top window a St. George’s flag extends.  Frolicking dogs as well as one gnawing on a bone are featured in the foreground.  In the right foreground we view the side effects of overindulgence.  A man lies on the ground while his wife struggles to help him to his feet.  Close by, on the other side of the fence, is a pigsty from which two pigs’ heads protrude.  The proximity of the two vignettes can only be meant as a general reference to the old proverb “Whoever is a pig belongs in the pigsty.” [3]  A heap of refuse from the party also lies in close proximity further reinforcing this idea.  A fight has broken out in the right corner of the rear yard and a mob has rushed in to push the knife-wielding assailant out of the gate.  Outside of the tavern yard, walkers stroll along a green that runs beside a town and church.  The prototype of this painting was a Kermess that Teniers painted in 1646 that was eventually purchased by Catherine the Great, and now hangs in the Hermitage.  Jacques-Philippe Le Bas engraved it in 1737.   Another smaller engraving was begun in 1771, by Martini, a pupil of Le Bas, and then finished by Le Bas for Recueil d’Estampes gravées d’apres les Tableaux du Cabinet de Monseigneur le Duc de Choiseul, Paris chez Basan, 1771. [4]

In A Feast at Harvest-Time peasants drink, eat and dance to the music of a bagpiper.  In the midground through its open windows we see an overcrowded tavern, from whose doorway a servant has emerged carrying a tray of food.  An excited dog runs in the center foreground while couples to the left begin to feel overcome by the alcohol they have consumed.  Lying nearby beneath a tree a man has succumbed to his stupor while another tries to steady himself against a signpost.  In the left foreground a pile of dishes, baskets, barrels, tub, jug, stool, brazier, pipe and a broken bench seem to restate the condition of these revelers.  Beyond are open fields with haystacks and figures picnicking bordered by a river next to the country estate of Drij Toren.  Drij Toren, at Perk near Vilvoorde was purchased by Teniers from Jan van Brouchoven, the second husband of Helena Fourment, by 1662.  It is believed that Teniers painted A Feast at Harvest-Time in the late 1660s and it now belongs in the collection of Queen Elizabeth II.  It was engraved by G. Mol in Collection de cent vingt Estampes, gravées d’après les Tableaux & Dessins qui composoient de M. Poullain, Paris, chez Basan, 1781. [5]

Whereas Teniers in these scenes predominantly employed an overall color scheme of various shades of brown with accents of red and blue on the figures’ clothing, Michaut, although working from black and white engraved models, must have willfully changed the coloration of his works to soft pastels to better match the taste of his clientele.

 

 

[1] Biographical information taken from E. Benezit, Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, Libraire Grund, 1976, vol. 7, p. 385; René Edouard-Joseph, Dictionnaire Biographique des Artists Contemporains 1910-1930, Paris, 1930-1934, vol. 3, p. 284; and Suzanne Vincent, ed., Cataogue Raisonné du Salon des Independants 1884-2000, Paris, 2000, p. 476.

[2] For an example of a work done by Michaut after another artist, in this case Leopold Louis Roberts (1794-1835), Le Retour du Pèlrerinage à la Madone de l’Arc which hangs in the Louvre, see Christie’s, New York, October 23, 1996, lot 18.

[3] Margaret Klinge, David Teniers the Younger, exhibition catalogue, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, May 11 – September 1, 1991, p. 156.

[4] Ibid., pp. 156-157.

[5] Christopher White, “A Feast at Harvest-Time, with the House of Drij Toren in the johBackground”, in The Later Flemish Pictures in the Collection of her Majesty The Queen, Royal Collection Publications, 2007, pp. 345-346.

Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts

Tel: (212) 517-3643            Email: gallery@steigrad.com