Alexandre Joseph Paillet (1743-1814): study of a Parisian art dealer
Edwards, JoLynn, 1948-
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In the last half of the eighteenth century the Parisian art market developed modern working practices: after 1760, in response to an increased demand for art, a separate class of art dealers emerged. Probably based on the methods of art commerce in Holland, the Parisian dealers evolved into highly trained experts, connoisseurs of every type of art. Alexandre Joseph Paillet began his career in the late 1760's, held his debut public auction in 1774, and operated without surcease until 1812.This study, the first of its kind, provides a narrative of his personal and business affairs based on primary documentation preserved at the Minutier central des Notaires in Paris, want-ad newspaper advertisements, and contemporary auction catalogues. Paillet's public sales activities are analyzed based on the evidence of his surviving catalogues, and on annotations in catalogues written by other Parisian dealers. Also his private negotiations on behalf of comte d'Angiviller, the last general director of royal buildings, is presented in detail using the vast documentation at the Archives nationales in Paris. During the years 1777 to 1786 Paillet was d'Angiviller's principal art agent in the acquisition of prized paintings and objects d'art for the projected public gallery at the Louvre. Paillet's correspondence with d'Angiviller, Pierre, Cuvillier, Robert, and major foreign dealers gives us a fascinating context in which to examine his contribution to the royal collection. Finally, the first-class paintings which Paillet bought and sold during his career are presented by school and genre, using the paintings themselves as a basis for a discussion of aesthetic taste during Paillet's lifetime. This constitutes a background for the reasons why Dutch and Flemish landscape and genre pictures dominated the Parisian art market between 1772 and 1812. Accompanying the text are four appendices: One--Paillet's public auctions in chronological order; Two--paintings he purchased in other Parisian dealers' sales; Three--a chronological list of the primary documents related to his personal and professional lives; and Four--the family trees of the Paillet and Soisson lines.
- Art history