14 A gathering of Merchants of Curiosities 187


Title: Assembl�e de Brocanteurs [A gathering of Merchants of Curiosities]
Author: Caylus, Anne Claude Philippe de Tubi�res (Comte de) (1692-1765)
Description: As in her study concerning satire in eighteenth century France, probably Caylus etched this plate "to ridicule merchants of curiosities and false connoisseurs who treat every painting as though it were extremely valuable. In the caricature, the brocanteurs carefully examine paintings, prints, and sculptures. Caylus reimagines them as donkeys which in caricature and iconographic texts are often employed to accuse their targets of ignorance dressed up as connoisseurs with their characteristic walking canes and magnifying glasses. The brocanteurs-connoisseurs who are closest to the central painting wave around incense-burning thuribles of Christian and especially Catholic worship. The smoke from their incense wafts up to the painting’s surface, and may be intended to darken it, thus endowing it with a patina of age to trick the buyer into paying more for it. The thurible may also refer to a phenomenon that Patrick Michel calls the 'abbé brocanteur', or the abbot-merchant. He notes that a surprising proportion of connoisseurs who began speculating on the art market were in fact abbots." Signed and titled on the bottom: 'Cv. Sculpsit et In' / 'Assembleé de Brocanteurs'
Condition: Prenten, Spotprenten, Allegorieen
Technique: Etching on laid paper; trimmed within plate mark; total: 150 x 220 mm; mounted on foxing cardboard and in passepartout; despite traces of coloured stains on the background, in good conditions. For reference see Kathryn Desplanque, Repeat Offenders: Reprinting Visual Satire Across France's Long Eighteenth Century, in 'RACAR: revue d'art canadienne / Canadian Art Review', Vol. 40, No. 1 (2015), pp. 17-26
  • Number: 1871939
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum

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