The frontispiece (engraved by Pierre-Jules Hutin) depicts a young woman conversing with two amateurs about a painting of Leda and the swan that sits on the easel before them; it is a rare instance of a woman shown as interlocutor in a serious aesthetic debate. View larger
The frontispiece (engraved by Pierre-Jules Hutin) depicts a young woman conversing with two amateurs about a painting of Leda and the swan that sits on the easel before them; it is a rare instance of a woman shown as interlocutor in a serious aesthetic debate.
Hagedorn (Christian Ludwig von), 1713-1780

Lettre à un Amateur de la Peinture avec des Eclaircissemens historiques sur un cabinet et les auteurs des tableaux qui le composent. Ouvrage entremêlé de Digressions sur la vie de plusieurs Peintres modernes

Dresden, Georg Conrad Walther, 1755
First edition of Hagedorn’s “Lettre”, occupying the initial twenty pages, followed by “Eclaircissemens historiques”, a series of digressions in the form of biographical notices of painters compiled by Franz Christoph Janneck (1703-1761). The frontispiece (engraved by Pierre-Jules Hutin) depicts a young woman conversing with two amateurs about a painting of Leda and the swan that sits on the easel before them; it is a rare instance of a woman shown as interlocutor in a serious aesthetic debate.
Subjects
Art books - Early works to 1800
Biographical dictionaries - Artists
Painting - Connoisseurship
Authors/Creators
Hagedorn, Christian Ludwig von, 1713-1780
Artists/Illustrators
Hutin, Pierre Jules, 1723/4-1763
Other names
Janneck, Franz Christoph, 1703-1761

Hagedorn, Christian Ludwig von
Hamburg 1713 – Dresden 1780

Lettre à un Amateur de la Peinture avec des Eclaircissemens historiques sur un cabinet et les auteurs des tableaux qui le composent. Ouvrage entremêlé de Digressions sur la vie de plusieurs Peintres modernes.

Dresden, Georg Conrad Walther, 1755

octavo (170 mm), (192) ff. signed A–Z8 Aa-Bb4 (title printed on Bb4 and inserted at front) and paginated (2) 1–368 (14), plus engraved frontispiece signed Pierre Hutin sculp 1754.

provenance episcopal inkstamp with initials C.L. v. B.P. on title-page. In excellent state of preservation.

bound in contemporary German boards covered by decorative paper; edges sprinkled red and black.

First edition of Hagedorn’s ‘Lettre’, occupying the initial twenty pages, followed by ‘Eclaircissemens historiques’, a series of digressions in the form of biographical notices of painters compiled by Franz Christoph Janneck (1703–1761). Hagedorn was a Saxon diplomat (1735–1752), director of the royal picture collection in Dresden (1763–1780), and himself a collector of German painting. Contained in his ‘Lettre’ is a discussion of the pictures in his own gallery, and the prospects for their sale en-bloc.1 Hagedorn’s friend and collaborator, the painter Janneck, is mistaken as author of the ‘Lettre’ by some cataloguers.

The frontispiece depicts a young woman conversing with two amateurs about a painting of Leda and the swan that sits on the easel before them; it is a rare instance of a woman shown as interlocutor in a serious aesthetic debate.2 The print was engraved by Pierre-Jules Hutin (c. 1723/4–1763), a nephew of the Dresden court painter Louis de Silvestre, who worked as designer for the Sèvres porcelain factory at Dresden, and from 1753–1757 was employed engraving the paintings in the Dresden gallery.3

references Leopoldo Cicognara, Catalogo ragionato dei libri d’arte e d’antichità posseduti dal Conte Cicognara (reprint Bologna 1979), no. 1162; Julius Schlosser-Magnino, La Letteratura artistica (reprint Florence 1986), p.677

1. There is a large literature on Hagedorn and his contribution to German art literature of the Enlightenment; see particularly Pascal Griener, ‘La connoisseurship européenne au service de la création artistique allemande: les Lettres de Christian Ludwig von Hagedorn (1755)’ in Théorie des arts et création artistique dans l'Europe du Nord du xvie au début du xviiie siècle: actes du colloque international organisé les 14 et 16 décembre 2000 à l'Université Charles-de-Gaulle – Lille 3, edited by Michèle-Caroline Heck, Frédérique Lemerle and Yves Pauwels (Villeneuve d'Ascq 2002), pp.333–354; Pascal Griener, La République de l'oeil: l'expérience de l'art au siècle des Lumières (Paris 2010), pp.107–115; Roland Kanz, ‘Christian Ludwig von Hagedorn als Kunsttheoretiker der Aufklärung’ in Das achtzehnte Jahrhundert: Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für die Erforschung des Achtzehnten Jahrhunderts 37 (2013), pp.251–261.

2. Melissa Lee Hyde, Making up the rococo: François Boucher and his critics (Los Angeles 2006), p.68.

3. Bibliothèque nationale, Inventaire du fonds français: Graveurs du xviiie siècle, xi (Paris 1970), pp.554-555, no. 7. An impression featured in the recent exhibition by P. & D. Colnaghi & Co. in association with Emanuel von Baeyer, The artist in art: 26th November 2007–1st February 2008 (London 2007), no. 33 and Pl. 13 (catalogue).

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