Etienne Allegrain (Paris 1644 - 1736)
The First Frost: an Animated Village Scene in Autumn
Oil on canvas, in a carved and giltwood frame
60 by 68.5 cm.
The Parisian painter Etienne Allegrain was the founder of a dynasty of paintersand sculptors; for example his son Christophe?Gabriel Allegrain becamea famous sculptor. Etienne Allegrain was formally admitted to the Acad?mieRoyale in 1676. He received numerous royal commissions, providing picturesfor the Trianon palace and for the menagerie at Versailles. Allegrain?s workswere much appreciated by the general public and were greatly in demand.Allegrain was a follower of the two great classical landscape painters of 17thcentury France: Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin (1594?1665). Lacking theintellectual and philosophical content of the heroic, classical style of Poussin,Allegrain?s ?tableaux champ?tre? or rural scenes such as the present werepainted in a light and free manner. They were meant to be decorative, notmoralistic. They were perfectly suited for decorating Parisian hotels and thecountry houses of the aristocracy.
The foreground of our carefully constructed composition is animated witheveryday activities of several figures in a French small town of South-EastFrance. The composition then follows the winding perspective of the river,which is then blocked in several layers into the distance: first by a bridgeand several buildings, further by a bucolic hillside landscape. The scene hereannounces winter: the first frost has arrived, giving the painting a touch ofmagic. It was probably painted in the early 1690s.
Provenance:Sale, Vienna, Dorotheum, 18 April 2012, lot 553.
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