2 major sculptures return to Versailles
Long research has made it possible to retrace the singular itinerary of these works commissioned by two kings, Louis XIV and Louis XV, and which finally joined the collections of the Palace of Versailles. This weekend the French will discover in Versailles two masterpieces of 18th-century sculpture commissioned by Louis XIV and Louis XV, which have become the property of Angola. The epilogue of a unique itinerary for these major works. The artwork Zephyr, Flora, and Love (begun in 1713 by Philippe Bertrand and René Firmin then completed in 1726 by Jacques Rousseau) was commissioned by Louis XIV for the gardens of the Grand Trianon. The arrival this weekend in Versailles of this group will materialize one of the last dreams of Louis XIV, who saw exhibited in his gardens only the preparatory version of this sculpture. As for Abundance, a major work that Lambert Sigisbert Adam executed between 1753 and 1758, was commissioned by Louis XV for his residence in Choisy. From the Rothschild mansion to the Angolan embassy These two sets of sculpted groups were sold in 1881 and acquired by Alphonse and Edmond de Rothschild for their mythical Parisian hotel on rue Saint-Florentin. Several archival documents, including an album of unpublished photographs, make it possible to evoke the fate of these two sculptures looted during the Occupation. Returned after the war, these works were placed in the garden of the Hôtel Ephrussi de Rothschild, which in 1979 became the seat of the Angolan Embassy in France. These two sculptures were somewhat forgotten until their identification in 2018 led to a retracing of their prestigious past. A donation from Angola materialized on February 4, 2022 Considering the historical and artistic value of the two works as well as the efforts made by the Palace of Versailles to reconstitute its artistic heritage, the Republic of Angola has decided to donate them to France so that they join the collections of the National Museum of the Palaces of Versailles and Trianon. The signing took place on Friday afternoon in the presence of the Minister of Culture Roselyn Bachelot. An exhibition at Versailles The Masterpieces exhibition sets out to place Zephyr, Flora and Love, and Abundance in their context of creation and inspiration. It also sheds light on their unique destiny: from the royal commission to today's entry into the national collections. Seen in France Culture,
Video of the sculptures
Long research has made it possible to retrace the singular itinerary of these works commissioned by two kings, Louis XIV and Louis XV,...