LACMA has acquired a terracotta bust of Jean Restout by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, one of the most admired of French portraitists. First exhibited in the Salon of 1761, the portrait was sold to the museum by the Galerie Jean-Francois Heim, Paris.
Lemoyne was the most famous of a family of artists. He produced numerous marble likenesses of Louis XV, including an equestrian statue that was destroyed in the Revolution. Today Lemoyne is most admired for his terracotta portraits, which anticipated Houdon in their naturalism, and especially for his informal likenesses of artists and intellectuals. He portrayed Voltaire, Madame Pompadour, and numerous stars of the French stage, all more or less looking as if caught unaware.
Sitter Jean Restout was a painter and Director of the French Royal Academy. LACMA has an early Restout painting, Venus Ordering Arms from Vulcan for Aeneas (1717; below left). It’s a gift of those postmodern masters of the casual pose, Lynda and Stewart Resnick.
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