Inscribed at upper right in pen and brown ink, "Musique Grotesque pour la/serenade"; in a different hand, "de la ville"; at lower right, "La chausse longue"; numbered at upper center in graphite, "111"; at upper right in pen and brown ink, "118"; on verso, “0163R”.
From an album of 188 drawings by Rabel and his workshop; private collection, West Germany, by 1985; Swiss art market; Hobhouse, Ltd., London, in association with Wheelock Whitney & Co., New York, 1986.
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Twenty-First Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1984-1986. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1989, p. 371.
Watermark: none visible through lining.
The Library's group of eight drawings attributed to Rabel and his workshop come from a larger batch of works by the artist that were on the market in 1986. These sheets, said to be from a dismembered album or albums, emerged from a West German collection and were on the Swiss art market before being acquired by dealers Niall Hobhouse and Wheelock Whitney. Drawings from this cache, which were the subject of a catalogue by Margaret McGowan, are now in the Morgan, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Marion Koogler McNay Museum, and the New York Public Library Dance Collection. In 2020, the Louvre acquired a group of seven designs for Louis XII's court ballets by Rabel and his workshop from a second tranche of drawings.
The provenance of the album and its history before being dismembered in 1986 is unknown. While it was rumored to have been in the collection of Hippolyte Destailleur (1822-1893), there is no evidence to confirm his ownership. Macgowan noted that the contents of the album were reorganized several times and the circumstances of its original assembly are unknown, although the album pages seem to date from the 1580s based on watermark evidence.
This design is for a musician featured in the "Ballet du Sérieux et du Grotesque", first performed at the Louvre in February 1627. The airs were composed by Paul Auget, Antoine Boesset, and Francois Richard, with a libretto by Rene Bordier. The ballet featured the king dancing the role of a “serious woman” and his brother Gaston d'Orleans as a grotesque old man. This costume is for a character in the serenade of the grotesques, during which bizarrely costumed musicians made noise on a range of instruments made from unconventional elements. His armored costume includes a headpiece constructed of flutes and tambourines and he plays a curious stringed instrument surmounted by a gourd.
Destailleur, Hippolyte Alexandre Gabriel Walter, 1822-1893, former owner.
Thorne, Landon K. Jr., Mrs., donor.