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Fontainebleau 1670–1751 Vienna

A Female Nude, Full-length, Holding up a Globe

A Female Nude, Full-length, Holding up a Globe

Inscribed and numbered on the old mount, N 1760, and, No. 155 (crossed out) and, 192 / Jacques Van Schuppen and 1670-1751. / Collection de Chennevières (note au dos) and, Jac. Van Schuppen (verso of the old mount)

Black chalk, pastel on blue paper

18 ⅜ x 11 inches

468 x 281 mm


An eighteenth-century Viennese collector, to

M. Joly, then sold by

Michel Habersetzer, Paris (last quarter of the 19th century)

Charles-Philippe, marquis de Chennevières (1820–1899), Paris and Bellesme (Lugt 2073), his inscription on the verso, Jac. van Schuppen / fils du graveur et fondateur de l'académie royale de Viénne / ces pastels viénnent d’une collection formée au 18e. s. a Vienne / en concurrence de celle de Mariette en France / Michel en avait achete 1500 [?] de M. Joly (verso of the mount, Lugt 3027a); this inscription transcribed on the verso of the mount by a later hand with the additional comment, Note de la main du marquis de Chennevières.

Sale: Paris, Roblin, 4-7 April 1900, part of lot 467 (Académies de femmes nues. Trois dessins; 16 francs to Lemeilleur)

M. Louis Deglatigny (1854–1936), Rouen (Lugt1768a); his sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 4-5 November 1937, lot 352

M. Germain Seligman (1893–1978), Paris and New York (Lugt 3863)

Mr. Christopher Powney, London

Sale: London, Christie’s, 26 March 1968, lot 88

Sale: New York, Sotheby’s Parke Bernet, 8 May 1973, lot 27, where purchased by

Mrs. Drue Heinz, DBE (1915–2018), New York and Lasswade (Scotland), by descent


P. Schreiden, “Jacques Van Schuppen 1670-1751,” in Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte, XXXV, 1982, p. 86, cat. no. 95, pl. 103

P. Schreiden, Jacques Van Schuppen 1670-1751. L’influence francaise à Vienne dans les arts plastiques au cours de la première moitié du XVIIIe siècle, Brussels, 1983, p. 86, cat. no. 95, pl. 103

L.-A. Prat et al., Histoire des collections du musée du Louvre. La collection Chennevières. Quatre siècles de dessins français, Paris, 2007, p. 369, cat. no. 573, illustrated

This full-length drawing of a young woman holding up a globe is a rare early example of a female académieby Jacques Van Schuppen, best known as the first director of the Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Vienna. Datable to the 1720s, this exceptional sheet attests to Van Schuppen’s French artistic heritage while also foreshadowing an attention to the female académie that would emerge in France from the 1730s onwards, pioneered by François Boucher. From its inception in 1648, the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture had privileged drawing from the live model, leading to the term académie being used to refer to the actual drawings resulting from this practice. However, this concerned solely the male model (women were only allowed to pose from 1750, and even then, exclusively for head studies). Clearly, these restrictions did not apply to the more private realm of the artist’s studio, as attended by Boucher’s numerous sensual female nudes, which blur the boundaries between preparatory studies and independent drawings. Conversely, Van Schuppen’s drawing is striking for its emphasis on close observation. Executed in colored pastels on beautifully conserved blue paper, it is a careful study of anatomy and movement, as well as of tone and shading. The model is lit from left to right and reddish-brown pastel is applied to convey the darker shadows on her left shoulder, inner thighs and right knee. Comparable académies by Van Schuppen only show male models, while a stylistically close study of a clothed female figure holding a basket is in the Albertina.¹ A larger group of sheets focuses on head studies, both male and female.

Although no directly related work by Van Schuppen has been identified so far, comparable figures can be found in his two main decorative programmes for Palais Lobkowitz (today the Theatre Museum) and the Stallburg Palace (which now hosts the Spanish Riding School), both in Vienna. Palais Lobkowitz owes its name to Prince Ferdinand Philipp Lobkowitz who acquired it in 1753. It was originally built between 1685 and 1687 by Giovanni Pietro Tencala for Count Gundacker von Althan (1665–1747), a general, diplomat and, from 1716, the Director General of Works with responsibility for all court construction projects under Charles VI. In 1726, in his capacity as Imperial Director of Artistic Affairs, he was appointed Honorary President of the newly founded Academy of Fine Arts, which, from 1733, was based in his palace. The room decorated by Van Schuppen at Palais Lobkowitz is a space of relatively modest size, renowned as the birthplace of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 – hence its current name of ‘Eroica Hall’. The decorative programme, datable to 1720-23, comprises eleven allegories of the liberal and mechanical arts. The focus on female personifications of the arts suggests a related context for the conception of our drawing, and comparable facial types can be found, for instance, in the allegories of Civil Architecture and Geography.²

Perhaps a more compelling case can be made for a connection between our sheet and Van Schuppen’s two ceiling paintings for the second floor of the Stallburg, which Emperor Charles VI had had converted into a picture gallery. Probably executed between 1726 and 1728, the two paintings, entitled Painting Received into the Realm of Apollo (now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum,³ and Minerva Rescuing the Arts (now lost but known from a bozzetto,⁴ were likely meant to exalt the newly founded Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. The first scene shows Charles VI in the guise of Apollo admitting Painting amongst the Muses. The ascent of the Liberal Arts towards the Olympian realm is contrasted by the fall of the supplanted artisans into Hell. The left-hand group of allegories leaning or standing on clouds includes a female figure holding up a globe or armillary sphere. Although her pose does not match that of our nude académie, it is possible to connect the Stallburg commission with Van Schuppen’s dedication to the study of the nude female model. Two further studies of female nudes, possibly related to the same project, are now untraced but were once also in the collection of Charles-Philippe, marquis de Chennevières, the renowned art historian and collector of predominantly French drawings, whose handwritten inscription on our drawing’s mount traces its earlier provenance back to an eighteenth century Viennese collection.

Portraitist, history and genre painter, Jacques Van Schuppen trained in Paris, initially under his father, the Antwerp-born engraver Pierre-Louis (1627–1702), and later in the studio of Nicolas de Largillière (1656-1746), a family friend. Dissatisfied with his father’s and Largillière’s sole focus on portraiture, Van Schuppen would soon pursue his interest in the study of the full figure and in anatomy, thus specializing in history painting. His animated Meleager Killing the Calydonian Boar secured his admission to the Académie royale in 1704.⁵ By mid-1707 he had moved to Lorraine, where he was at the service of Duke Léopold at Lunéville. In late 1712 he moved to Vienna, where his first patron was Prince Eugène, soon replaced by Count Althan, whose position at court favored Van Schuppen’s promotion to court painter (peintre de cabinet), in 1721. His early decorative scheme for Palais Lobkowitz attests to Van Schuppen’s engagement with artistic theory and pedagogy that would soon be realized in the plan for a Viennese Academy, which would come to define his career.⁶ One such institution, of Italian inspiration, had already existed, founded by Peter Strudel in 1692 and closed at his death in 1714. In 1726 Charles VI approved by decree the institution of the Palatine Imperial and Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture and placed Van Schuppen at its helm.⁷ Modelled largely on its Paris counterpart, and committed to the practice of drawing, the Viennese Academy was an instant success, attracting students from Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands as well as Turkey and America.

  1. Inv. no. 10462; pastel on brown paper, 239 x 227 mm.

  2. Schreiden, op. cit., 1982, pp. 77-78, cat. no. 28, figs. 31-32.

  3. Ibid., p. 78, cat. no. 32, fig. 38.

  4. Van Schuppen’s bozzetti for both paintings (Schreiden, op. cit., p. 78, cat. nos. 31 and 33, fig. 37 and 40) were recently with Dr Robert Keil Kunsthandel, Vienna. See S. Haag and G. Swoboda, eds. Die Galerie Kaiser Karls VI. in Wien. Solimenas Widmungsbild und Storffers Invernar (1720-1733), Vienna, 2010, p. 17, figs. 12-13.

  5. Montpellier, Musée Fabre, inv. no. D.803.120; Schreiden, op. cit., 1982, p. 73, cat. no. 5, pl. 5.

  6. Schreiden, op. cit., 1982, pp. 40-41.

  7. On the history of the Academy see the bibliography listed in Schreiden, op. cit., 1982, p. 17, note 108.

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