BESSA, Pancrace (1772-1846). Still Life with Oranges, Pomegranates, Leaves, a Sprig of Mint and Orange Flowers. First quarter 19th-century.
Vellum over board (10 2/8 x 14 7/8 inches). Magnificent original gouache still life of oranges, pomegranates, leaves, a sprig of mint and orange flowers on a marble table, signed by the artist "P. Bessa" lower right, in original Empire molded wooden frame (varnish darkened and abraded).
Provenance: inscribed on the back in chalk "Photo faite 131"; with the exhibition labels of Gallerie Charpentier, Paris "Les Fleurs et Les Fruits depuis le Romantisme 1942-1943; Lucien Goldschmidt, New York , ca 1950; Estate of Justine Auerbach, New York; with Doyle Wed, Jan 26, 2011, lot 83
Exhibited as part of "Les Fleurs et Les Fruits depuis le Romantisme" at Hotel Jean Charpentier when it was under the ownership of Raymond Nacenta. Jean Charpentier (1891–1976) established the gallery in Paris, the gallery was known as the Hôtel Jean Charpentier or the Galerie. Raymond Nacenta purchased the gallery in 1941 and operated under the same name until 1961. Nacenta put on a seris of thematic exhibitions, including 100 portraits de femmes, Les célébrités françaises. In 1954, Nacenta began regular exhibitions of the l'Ecole de Paris, and the exhibition at which this still life was shown. Charpentier published Charles Leger's "Redoute et son Temps", 1945, in which this still life is illustrated.
Later the painting was exhibited here in New York by Lucien Goldschmidt (1912-1992), in about 1950. "His life was divided between books and the world of art. Booksellers and art dealers normally lead rather separate careers, but Goldschmidt combined both, giving to each his own individual, highly independent, taste. Words and images combined to form an outlook on the world that was, in one word, civilised" (Nicholas barker, The Independent, January 3rd 1993).
Bessa was one of the most talented and popular flower painters of his day, and an outstanding pupil both of Redoute and of Gerard von Spaendonck. His paintings were regularly shown in the Paris Salon, and he produced watercolors on vellum for the French royal collection of watercolors on vellum known as the "Velins du Roi." Bessa is perhaps best known, however, for his printed works. He produced exquisite stipple engravings from his own watercolors in a number of great botanical books. Dunthorne describes his "Etudes des Fleurs et de Fruits" as "among the most exquisite of all flower prints in their beauty and delicacy of execution." Bessa collaborated with Redoute on a number of works, both as painter and as master engraver, producing the stunning engravings for Redoute's "Roses."