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Two CatsEnlarge image

Two Cats, 1725

Jean-Baptiste Oudry
French, 1686 - 1755
oil on canvas
74.8 x 92.6 cm
Purchased 1965
National Gallery of Canada (no. 14870)

Oudry has emphasized the large, gleaming eyes of the cats standing over a dead partridge. Both the defiant pose of the cats and the artist's attention to subtle differences in their markings suggest that this is a portrait. The work is contemporaneous with his portrait of "Le Général", Louis XV's cat. Oudry devoted his career to painting animals and was the official artist of the royal hunt.

Provenance 

1847/02/02
In auction of “Tableaux de toutes les écoles provenant d'une collection formée en province”, Alliance des Arts, Paris, Feb. 2, 1847, lot no. 14 [1]

– 1884/05/09
Baron L. d'Ivry, France [2]

1884/05/09 –

Mme Boiss, France, purchased from Baron L. d'Ivry [3].

– c.1940
Baron Henri de Rothschild (1872–1947), Paris, France [4]

1960/02/03
In auction of “Old master Paintings” Sotheby's London, Feb. 3, 1960, lot no. 152 [5]

1960/02/03 –
de Heuvel collection, purchased through Sotheby's, London, Feb. 3, 1960 [6]

– 1965/11/03
Galerie Marcus (Paul Marcus, 1903–1993), Paris, France [7]

1965/11/03 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from Galerie Marcus [8]

Notes 

The main source for this provenance is Hal N. Opperman's publication, cat. no. P452

[Oppermann, Hal N. "Jean-Baptiste Oudry." New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1977, vol. 1, p. 531, no. P452]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] The painting was offered as Deux chats sur une table and attributed to the Chardin school. London art dealer David Caritt suggested that the work is possibly identical with the NGC's painting by Oudry [note, NGC curatorial file].

[2] The picture was included in the sale of Baron L. d'Ivry's collection at Galerie Georges Petit in 1884 ["Catalogues des Objets d'art et d'ameublement et des tableaux anciens dependant de la succession de M. Le Baron L. D'Ivry.” Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 7– 9, 1884, lot no. 28].

[3] Deux Chats was purchased by Mme Boiss at the auction of Baron L. d'Ivry's collection at Galerie Georges Petit for 4600fcs [see Opperman and note 2].

[4] The painting apparently entered the collection of Baron Henri de Rothschild before World War II. Under the title "Chats et perdrix" it is listed in the "Répertoire des biens spoliés en France durant la guerre 1939-1945” as taken from him during the German occupation of France [Groupe Francais du Conseil de Controle. Division des Reparations et Restitutions, Paris, 1947 (reprint 1997), vol. 2, p. 214, no. 4758].Repeated efforts by the NGC to contact the heirs of Henri de Rothschild for information have met with no response to date.

[5] The seller is unknown.

[6]According to the pricelist of the 1960 Sotheby's sale [see note 5], the painting was purchased for 110 £ by “De Heuvel”, who can possibly be identified with Brussels art dealer Arthur de Heuvel (b. 1887).

[7] See note [8].

[8] The National Gallery purchased the painting from Galerie Marcus on November 3 1965. [Accession log, NGC curatorial file].


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