Portraits dessinés de la cour des Valois : les Clouet de Catherine de Médicis / Alexandra Zvereva ; préface par Denis Couzet. Paris : Arthena Editions, 2011. Cat. entry no. 343.
Pierpont Morgan purchased his collection of drawings en bloc in 1909 when he agreed to acquire the cache of some 1500 sheets assembled by Charles Fairfax Murray on offer through the Roman dealer Alexandre Imbert. Outside of this single purchase, he had occasionally acquired drawings during his trips to London and Paris. Among his earlier acquisitions is a group of twelve sheets attributed to the French Renaissance portraitist Francois Clouet and members of the Clouet family purchased from the Naples based firm active in Paris, C and E Canessa. This purchase reveals his interest in court portraiture and his appreciation for drawings in a combination of colored chalks.
These twelve drawings remained at the Morgan, unaccessioned and uncatalogued, until recently. Clouet scholar Alexandra Zvereva identified them as eighteenth century copies of portraits by Clouet and his workshop.
The originals on which eleven of the drawings were based all passed through English collections (Castle Howard or John Bouverie and his descendants) in the late eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century and are now found in the British Museum and the Musee Conde, Chantilly. One drawing, depicting Jean III d'Annebault, replicates a lost sheet by Clouet. The original on which this copy is based is in the Musee Conde.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.