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Edme François Gersaint
GERSAINT, Edme François.

GERSAINT, Edme François.
(1694 - 1750)

(Born: Paris, France, 1694; Died: Paris, France, 24 March 1750) French antiquarian, art collector & dealer.

On Gersaint's marriage in 1718 to Marie-Louise Sirois [1698-1725] he came within the circle of Antoine Watteau's closest friends and this determined his future life. Just prior to his marriage, Gersaint had purchased the stock and business of the painter and dealer Antoine Dieu; however, a few days after he took possession, the building and its contents were destroyed by fire. Although this must have been a set back, Gersaint continued and through his connections with the artists of Paris was quickly able to build his stock back up. He soon became one of the best known art dealers of the eighteenth century. By the early 1730's, Gersaint had developed interests in shells, minerals, lacquer and porcelain. He made several journeys during the 1730s to the Netherlands in search of stock. This resulted in a series of catalogues of the curiosities, as well as prints and drawings, which he offered for sale. Gersaint took an early interest in the etchings of Rembrandt, of which his catalogue raisonné was published posthumously in 1751.

Biographical references: ABF: I 450, 301-302. Biographie Universelle: 16, 341-2. Dacier, E., J. Hérold & A. Vuaflart, Jean de Jullienne et les Graveurs de Watteau. Paris, 1921-9. DBF: 15, col. 1353 [by A. Reinbold]. Dictionary of Art: 12, 489. Duverger, E., "Réflexions sur le Commerce d'Art au XVIIIe Siècle", Stil und Überlieferung in der Kunst des Abendlandes, 3, (Berlin, 1967), p. 65-88. Glorieux, G., À l'enseigne de Gersaint. Edme-François Gersaint, marchand d'art sur le Pont Notre-Dame, 1694-1750. Préface de Daniel Roche. Seyssel, Champ Vallon; Paris, Diffusion, Presses universitaires de France, 2002. viii, 585 p., illus. [ISBN, 2876733447; Biography of Gersaint]. McClellan, A., "Edme Gersaint and the Marketing of Art in Eighteenth-Century Paris", Eighteenth Century Studies, 29, (1995-6), no. 2, 439-53. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer): 20, cols. 273-4. Pomian, K., Collectors and curiosities: Paris and Venice 1500-1800. Translated by Elizabeth Wiles-Portier. Cambridge, U.K., Polity Press; Cambridge, Mass., Basil Blackwell, 1990. [1]-348 p. [Translation of: Collectionneurs, amateurs et curieux. (Paris, 1987). ISBN: 0745606806.]: 163-94. Préaud, M., et al., Dictionnaire des Éditeurs d'Estampes à Paris sous l'Ancien Régime. Paris, 1987. WBI.

Catalogue, 1736

1. French, 1736.
Catalogue | Raisonné | De Coquilles, | Et | Autres Curiosités | Naturelles. | On a joint à la tête du Catalogue quelques | Observations générales sur les Coquilles, avec | une Liste des principaux Cabinets qui s'en trou- | vent, tant dans la France que dans la Holan- | de; Une autre Liste des Auteurs les plus ra- | res qui ont traité de cette matiere, & une Ta- | ble Alphabètique des Noms arbitraires, tant | François que francisés, attribués aux Coquil- | les par les Curieux. | [ornament] | A Paris, | Chez [The next 4 lines braced on the left by a "{": ] Flahault, au Palais, Galerie | des Prisonniers. | Prault, Fils, Quay d: Con- | ty à la Charité. | [rule] | M. DCC. XXXVI. | Avec Approbation & Privilege.

8°: vii, 167, [5] p., frontispiece (arrangement of corals and shells; designed by Duflos, engraved by Boucher; identical to the frontis of the 1744 Catalogue).

Rare. Ostensibly a sale catalog of the author's natural history collection, but actually a pocket-size introduction to conchology. It contains some observations on shells, a list of the principle cabinets of shells in France and Holland, and at pages 30-45 a bibliography of the more important conchological titles. It was published after the author had returned to Paris from an extended trip throughout Holland. Although principally on shells, the list of cabinets contains some useful information for the history of mineralogy as it pertains to the natural history cabinets.

Bibliographical references: Barbier: 1, 626. BL [444.a.44.]. Dance, Shell Collecting, 1966: p. 39. Laissus, Cabinets d'Histoire Naturelle, 1964: 671. Murray, Museums, 1904: 2, 254. NUC: 197, 289-90 [NG 0170134]. Thesaurus Librorum Conchyliorum, 1999: no. 147.

2. French, 1737 [Sale catalog].
Catalogue | D'Une Collection | considérable de Curiositez de diffe- | rens genres dont la Vente doit com- | mencer le Lundi 2 Decembre 1737. | à deux heures après midi, chez | Gersaint Marchand Pont Notre- | Dame. | Ces Curiositez consistent en un très-grand | nombre d'Estampes d'après les plus grands | Maîtres, des mieux conditionnés; des Desseins; une grande quantité de Coquil- | lages rares; des Madrepores & autres Plan- | tes marines; des Animaux dans des phio- | les; des Mineraux; des Papillons étrangers; | de très-belles Pierres arborisées; des Pago- | des de diverses formes, & autres Ouvrages | variés de Porcelaine; des Tasses & Boëtes | d'anciens Vernis; quelques Pierres antiques, montées & non montées; de Figures en | cire très-finies, & autres Curiositez & pro- | ductions de la Nature & de l'Art. | Ce Catalogue se vend | A Paris, | Chez Prauit fils, Quay de Conty, vis-â-vis | la descente du Pont-neuf, à la Charité. | [rule] | MDCCXXXVII. | Ou y trouve aussi le Catalgue de la Vente de 1736.

12°: [8], 64 p., one plate (signed Hérisset).

Rare. The author's description of his own natural history cabinet, which included minerals. This collection was sold to Quentin de Lorangère which was later (1744) catalogued by Gersaint and sold.

Bibliographical references: BL [958.a.12.(2.)]. Laissus, Cabinets d'Histoire Naturelle, 1964: p. 672. NUC: 197, 289-90 [NG 0170132].

Catalogue Raisonné, 1744

3. French, 1744 [Sale catalog].
Catalogue | Raisonné | D'une Collection | considerable de diverses Curiosités | en tous Genres, contenuës dans | les Cabinets de feu Monsieur | Bonnier De La Mosson, | Bailly & Capitaine des Chaffes de | la Varenne des Thuilleries & | ancien Colonel du Regiment | Dauphin. | Par E.F. Gersaint. | [ornament] | A Paris, | Chez [The next 6 lines braced on the left by a {:] Jaques Barois, Quay des Augustins, à la | Ville de Nevers. | Et | Pierre-Guillaume Simon, Imprimeur du | Parlement, au bas de la rue de la Harpe, | à l'Hercule. | [rule] | M. DCC. XLIV. | Avec Approbation & Privilege.

12°: π1 a6 b2 A-T6 V4; 126l.; [2], j-xiij, [3], [1]-234, [2] p., frontispiece (arrangement of corals and shells; designed by Duflos, engraved by Boucher; identical to the frontis of the 1736 Catalogue). Page size: 160 x 85 mm.

Contents: [Frontispiece]; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; j-xiij, "Avertissement."; [1 pg], "Approbation."; [2 pgs], "Table | Des differens Cabinets & des | divers genres de Curiosités | contenuës dans ce Catalogue."; [1]-234, Text.; [2 pgs], "Avis" & "Errata."

Very rare. Comté Joseph Bonnier de la Mosson [see note below], a wealthy amateur, was the owner of one of the most famous collections of natural history objects and scientific instruments. This sale catalog lists 966 lots with brief descriptions, including illustrated books and works of art. Among the different sections of the scientific collections may be mentioned the following: Cabinet d'Anatomie (pages 1-4), Cabinet de Chimie ou Laboratorie (pages 5-16), Cabinet de Pharmacie (pages 11-18), the natural history cabinet containg mostly minerals (pages 54-82), and the Cabinet de Mécanique et de Physique (pages 83-172), in which 222 scientific instruments and machines are listed and described in detail, including descriptions of many microscopes and a whole treatise on telescopes (pages 116-20).

Comté Joseph Bonnier de la Mosson. (Born: Montpellier, France, 6 September 1702; Died: Paris, France, 26 July 1744) French financier, patron and collector. In 1726 Bonnier resigned from a successful military career in order to succeed his father as treasurer for the Etats du Languedoc. Bonnier divided his time between Paris and Montpellier. He built a very large collection of natural history objects, including minerals. A major portion of this accumulation was ultimately acquired by the Natural History Museum in Paris.

Bibliographical references: BL [1485.k.2.(1.)]. Laissus, Cabinets d'Histoire Naturelle, 1964: 672. Lugt, Repertoire des Catalogues, 1938-53: no. 614. NUC: 197, 289-90 [NG 01700133]. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 61, 161 & 205. (Bonnier de la Mosson) Bourdier, F., "L'Extravagant cabinet de Bonnier," Connaissance des Arts, 1959, 52-60. Cotinat, S., "Un cabinet parisien d'histoire naturelle, vendu aux enchères sous Louis XV," Revue d'Histoire de la Pharmacie, 1959, no. 163, 177-83, 4 plates. Dictionary of Art: 4, 331 [by T. Bajou]. Grasset-Morel, Les Bonnier, ou une Famille de Financiers au XVIIIe Siècle. Paris, 1886. Roland-Michel, M.-A., "Le Cabinet de Bonnier de la Mosson et la Participation de Lajoüe à son décor," Bulletin Societé A. François, 1975, 211-21.

4. French, 1744 [Sale catalog].
Catalogue Raisonné des Diverses Curiosités du Cabinet de feu M. Quentin de Lorangère. Composé de Tableaux Originaux des Meilleurs Maîtres de Flandres; d'une Très-Nombreuse Collection de desseins & d'estampes de toutes les écoles; de plusieurs atlas & suites de cartes; de quantité de morceaux de topographie, & d'un coquillier fait avec choix.... [Avec] quelques courtes notes sur les principaux maîtres anciens & modernes dont on n'avoit rien dit dans le courant du catalogue, ainsi que sur leurs ouvrages. Paris, Jacques Barois, 1744.

12°: xviii, [4], 294, [2], 96 p., frontispiece (gentlemen viewing the collection designed and engraved by Cochin).

Rare. Auction catalog of Quentin de Lorangere [see note below]. The sale took place 2 March 1744 and days thereafter. This is one of the most important catalogs prepared by the prolific Gersaint and is innovative is several ways. Besides the substanial descriptions of the collection objects, he has included biographies of several artists. In addition, the catalog also includes the most complete list of the work of the French artist and engraver, Jacques Callot [1592-1635], including prints not included in the sale.

The collection was notable for its fine paintings, drawings and prints. The drawings were mainly Dutch and Flemish, including numerous landscapes, or French. Also included were a group of almost 500 drawings by Claude Gillot. The prints represented a comprehensive survey of the Northern, Italian and French schools. Also included in this catalog are his collections of illuminations, books, shells, corals, atlases and maps, and natural history objects including a few minerals.

Quentin de Lorangère. (Born:      ; Died: Paris, France?, before March 1744) French patron & collector. French art patron and collector. Quentin is only known through the sale of his collections, which began in Paris on 2 March 1744. He had been a collector for some time, as Gersaint records that he had sold his own extensive shell collection to Quentin in 1737.

Bibliographical references: BL [1044.b.26.]. Dictionary of Art: 25, 815. Laissus, Cabinets d'Histoire Naturelle, 1964: 672. Lugt, Repertoire des Catalogues, 1938-53: no. 590. NUC: 197, 289-90 [NG 0170146]. (Lorangère) Dictionary of Art: 25, 815.

5. French, 1745 [Collection catalog].
Catalogue | Raisonné | Des Différents Effets | curieux & rares contenus dans le | Cabinet de feu M. Le Chevalier | De La Roque. | Ce Cabinet renferme une Collection considérable de | Tableaux, de Desseins et d'Estampes des meil- | leurs Maîtres; de Figures de Bronze & de Mar- | bre; de Porcelaines anciennes; de Lacqs de toute | espèce; de Diamans; de Pierres fines de toutes | les couleurs; de Pierres gravées en creux & en | relief, montées en bague ou autrement, & non | montées; de Coquilles, & enfin de nombre d'au- | tres morceuax interessans de diverse genres. | Par E.F. Gersaint. | [ornament] | A Paris, | Chez [The next 4 lines braced on the left by a "{": ] Jaques Barois, Quay des Augustins, à la | Ville de Nevers. | Et | Pierre- à l'Hercule. | [rule] | M. D. CC. XLV. | Avec approbation & privilege.

12°: [a]-b6 A-B4 A-X6 Y3; 147l.; XX, 14, [2], 258 p., frontispiece (group of connoisseurs examining objects; engraved by Cochin). Page size: 166 x 98 mm.

Very scarce. Collection catalog of M. le Chevalier de La Roque's [see note below] collections. La Roque was enthusiastic for the visual arts as expressed in his eclectic collection, which is described in some detail in this sales catalogue. Gersaint was among his circle of friends and he has written a fine catalogue of the collections. In addition to paintings, there are also described line drawings, prints, bronzes, sculptures, porcelain, lacquer, diamonds, semi-precious stones, engraved gems, shells, corals, books, and maps. Many of the 300 pictures are the product of Dutch and Flemish masters including several by Rubens and Rembrandt. The precious stones, agates, engraved gems and coral are described on pages 109-162. Included are diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, topaz, oriental amethyst, turquoise, opal, etc.

Chevalier Antoine de la Roque. (Born: Marseille, Franch, 1672; Died: Paris, France, October 1744) French dramatist, jouranalist & poet. French soldier, dramatist, journalist, poet and collector. La Roque was the son of a family of successful merchants, and travelled widely in France and abroad, including Constantinople and the Levant. He fought in the War of the Spanish Succession, losing a leg at the Battle of Malplaquet (1709), for which he was awarded a pension by Louis XIV. He knew many artists and writers, having himself composed several operas. In 1721 he became associated with the semi-official periodical, Merure de France, of which he became owner and publisher in 1724.

Bibliographical references: BL [958.a.13.]. Laissus, Cabinets d'Histoire Naturelle, 1964: 673. Lugt, Repertoire des Catalogues, 1938-53: no. 619. NUC: 316, 493 [NL 0104455]. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 2362. (Roque) Dictionary of Art: 18, 796 [by H. Guicharnaud]. Feller, Biographie Universelle, 1851. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer). WBI.

Catalogue, 1747

6. French, 1747 [Sale catalog].
Catalogue | Raisonné, | Des Bijoux, Porcelaines, | Bronezes, Lacqus, | Lustres De Cristal De Roche | et de Porcelaine, | Pendules de goût, & autres Meubles curieux | ou composés; Tableaux, Dessens, Estampes, | Coquilles, & autres Effets de Curiosité, pro- | venans de la Succession de M. Angran, | Vicomte de Fonspertuis. | Cette Vente se fera, seulement pour la parie des Biojoux, | dans les premiers jours du inoie de Decembre 1747, | les autres Effets curieux ne seront vendus que le premier | Lundi de Carême 4 Mars 1748. & jours suivans. | Par E.F. Gersaint. | [ornament] | A Paris, | [Next two lines braced on the left side with "Chez {":] Pierre Prault, Quay de Gêvres, | Jacques Barrois, Quay des Augustins. | [rule] | M. DCC. XLVII. | Avec Approbation Et Privilege.

8°: a8 b2 A-Bb8 Cc1 a4 b8 c4 d8 e4; 187l.; [i]-xii, [1]-306, [i]-lv, [1] p., frontispiece (engraved, signed Cochin).

Contents: [Frontispiece].; [i-ii], Title page, verso "Listed | Des Catalogues | Dressés par E.F. Gersaint ..."; [iii]-xvi, "Avertissement."; ix-x, "Table | Des Differens Genres | de Curiosités contenues dans | ce Catalogue."; xi-xii, "Avis."; [1]-306, Text.; i-xlviii, "Supplement."; [xlix]-lv, "Table | Alphabetique."; [1 pg], Blank.

Very scarce. Another of Gersaint's auction catalogs, this one concentrating on a large collection assebmbled by M. Angran, Vicomte de Fonspertuis, of bronzes, porcelains, paintings, etc., with a somewhat minor natural history component. The auction took place on the 4 March 1748 and successive days. The frontispiece is reused from Gersaints other catalogs.

Bibliographical references: BL.

Catalogue Raisonne, 1753

7. French, 1753 [Sale catalog].
Catalogue | Raisonne | Des Minéraux, | Coquilles, | Et Autres Curiosités Naturelles, | contenues dans le Cabinet de seu | M. Geoffroy de l'Académie | Royale des Sciences. | [ornament] | A Paris, | Chez H.L. Guerin & L.Ft. Delatour, | rue S. Jacques, à S. Thomas d'Aquin. | [double rule] | M. DCC. LIII. | Avec Approbation Et Privilege.

8°: viii, 94, [2] p.

Very rare. Posthumous auction sale catalog of Claude-Joseph Geoffroy's [see note below] natural history cabinet, listing 597 lots of minerals, crystals, petrifications, shells, corals, and other curiosities of nature, which was one of the more important 18th century cabinets. According to Lugt, the sale took place after 5 February 1754 and following days. Since this catalogue appeared several years after Gersaint's death, it is likely that it was prepared years before and updated by Geoffroy as new objects were added. "Les Pètrificaitons, les Pierres fines, & les Crystaux forment une belle suite; mais surtout celle des Mines est très riche, & l'on y reconnaît le goût du Possesseur de ce Cabinet, pour la Minéralogieet la Chymie" (Preface).

Claude-Joseph Geoffroy. (Born: Paris, France, 8 August 1685; Died: Paris, France, March 1752) French botanist & chemist. Geoffroy was born into an important family of Parisian apothecaries, which is the profession he followed. Through his profession he became a competant botanist and when chemistry attracted his attention, he persued the study with intensity. He was elected a member to the class of chemistry in the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris on 7 December 1715.

Bibliographical references: BL. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 271. Gersaint, Catalogue Raisonné de Coquilles, 1736: p. 31. Lugt, Repertoire des Catalogues, 1938-53: no. 825. Murray, Museums, 1904: 2, 253. NUC [no copy listed]. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 172 & 212. (Geoffroy) ABF: I 446, 279-289; II 294, 71. DBF: 15, cols. 1132-3 [by A. Tétry]. Dorveaux, P., "Claude-Jean Geoffroy," Revue d'Histoire de la Pharmacie, 3 (1932), 113-22. DSB: 5, 351-2 [by W.A. Smeaton]. Grandjean de Fouchy, J.-P., "Éloge de M. Geoffroy," Histoire de l'Academie Royale des Sciences, 1756, 153-64. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer). Planchon, P., "La Dynastie des Geoffroy Apothicaires à Paris," Journal de Pharmacie et de Chimie, 8 (1898), 289-93 & 337-45. WBI.

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