Carle Van Loo (1705-1765) “Têtes d’expressions,” Studies of Four Human Heads and a Dog’s Head, inscribed l.l. in brown ink, “n.49”


Sanguine chalk on paper, 8 1/4 x 12 1/2 inches, borders ruled in black ink, on old blue paper mount, the number “#49” inscribed lower left

SKU: DFA987 Category:

This drawing is a recent discovery. It is described and listed in the “Catalogue de l’Oeuvre Gravé” by Louis-Marin Bonnet who perfected the ‘crayon manner’ of engraving, working after original drawings by various artists, including Carle Van Loo. The drawing “No. 49 “in this catalogue describes this drawing.  ”Un Livre de Principes de Dessin par C. Vanloo,” is a part of the description. Interestingly, in 2004 a copy of this composition in red chalk by Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre  10 3/4 x 15 1/8 in.,  was sold at Sotheby’s London, lot 122, ill. p. 158. It was almost certainly done from Bonnet’s crayon manner engraving,

Our drawing is the rediscovered original by Carle Van Loo engraved by Bonnet in the crayon-manner and listed as “No. 49.”  

Van Loo followed his brother Jean-Baptiste to Turin, and then to Rome in 1712, where he studied under Benedetto Luti and the sculptor Pierre Legros. After leaving Italy in 1723, he worked in Paris, studied at the Académie Royale, where he gained first prize for drawing in 1723, and first prize for historical painting in 1727—as did his future rival François Boucher.  After again visiting Turin in 1727, he was employed by king Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia, to paint a series of subjects illustrative of Tasso. In 1734 he settled in Paris, and in 1735 became a member of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. He rose rapidly. Madame de Pompadour and the French court took the artist under their patronage—he was decorated with the Order of Saint Michael and named First Painter to King Louis XV of France in 1762.  The most famous member of a family of painters, Carle Vanloo was acclaimed for a masterful ability to depict a wide range of subjects and styles.  Until 1733 he lived in Italy, where he achieved great recognition for painting trompe l’oeil ceiling frescoes with mythological subjects. Vanloo spent the remainder of his life in Paris painting royal portraits and works for the royal private apartments at Fontainebleau and Versailles. By the time of his death in 1765 Vanloo had been ennobled.