JEAN LE PAUTRE (1618 – 1682): Triumphal arch in honor of Louis XIV

Etching. Arc de Triomphe du Carefour de la Fontaine sainct Gervais, le Paultre sculpsit, A Paris chez van Merlen, rue St Iacques a la ville d’Anvers. Dimensions 38 x 25 cm (plate), 55 x 41 cm (frame). Etching derives from J. Troncon, L'entrée triomphante de leurs Majestez Louis XIV, Paris 1662. Price € 175.

This very decorative print is of great historical importance, because it records a tradition of setting up temporary triumphal arch constructions as festive decorations for celebrations of national importance. The most important architects and decorators were employed: in this case Charles le Brun. French court history, graphic art, decorative art and even theater art integrate in this print in a fascinating way.

Jean le Pautre (1618-1682, also written as Le Paultre or Le Pôtre) is considered one of the most important ornamentalists. Le Pautre started his career working with the architect and furniture maker Adam Philippon (1606 -?), for whom he designed ornaments. Le Pautre visited Rome together with Philippon. He devoted himself to graphic art and would manufacture over 1500 prints of architecture, furniture, friezes, ceiling vases and the most diverse ornaments. Most of his oeuvre consists of his own compositions. His collections in the field of decorative art represent what was later to be called the Louis XIV style. Through the prints of Le Pautre, the Louis XIV style was distributed throughout Europe.

The framed print offered here by Ars Decora is a so-called festivity decoration. It is described in the print itself as 'Arc de Triomphe du Carefour de la Fontaine sainct Gervais'. This remarkable but beautifully designed triumphal arch represents the mountain Parnassus with, of course, Apollo in a leading role. Two putti in the middle support a medallion on which both spouses of royal blood are depicted in profile. The persons depicted were in reality people of flesh and blood who together formed a so-called 'tableau vivant'.

It is plausible that Le Pautre produced this print commissioned by Le Brun, in order to record his (temporary, in essence) masterpiece. This print is in excellent condition, free of any discoloration or damage.

Le Pautre Arc de Triomphe 124-2
Le Pautre Arc de Triomphe 124-3