Gilles-Marie Oppenord

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Gilles-Marie Oppenord
Design for a Title Page, with Four Old Testament Figures
Pen and black and brown ink, and white opaque watercolor, over graphite, on paper; squared with a ruling pen and red-brown ink.
6 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches (158 x 210 mm)
Gift of the Fellows.

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Watermark: none visible through lining.
The Morgan preserves two studies for a frontispiece probably intended for a volume devoted to the Old Testament that was never realized. The present sheet is the more preliminary design, while no. 1964.20 is a revised and finished design that has been squared for transfer to the engraving plate.
At left is Noah, holding the arc and an urn, at center is Moses with tablets and staff and a serpent behind him, and at right a third patriarch, possibly Jacob, who turns to gaze at his vision of a ladder to heaven. At top are Abraham and his son Isaac, flanking the holy spirit in the form of a dove.
One of the most prominent architects and designers of interiors during the first quarter of the eighteenth century, Oppenord played a leading role in the development of the rococo. Toward the end of his career, as commissions dwindled and he no longer occupied a central position, Oppenord produced a large number of designs for book illustrations, including the four in the Morgan's collection (see also 1964.20, 1964.21).


Inscribed on verso of lining, in graphite, "156"; below it, crossed out, "122".

Charles-Eugène Bérard (1838-1890s), Paris; his sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 16-20 February 1891, nos. 300 A-B; Armand Sigwalt (1875-1952), Paris (Lugt 175); Henri Baderou (1910-1991), Paris.
Associated names: 

Bérard, Charles-Eugène, former owner.
Sigwalt, Armand, former owner.


Pierpont Morgan Library. Review of Acquisitions, 1949-1968. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1969, p. 157.
Adams, Frederick B., Jr. Fourteenth Annual Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1965 & 1966. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1967, p. 120.