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Finding aid for the Jean Le Pautre etchings, ca. 1650-1750
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • To request an item:

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Jean Le Pautre etchings
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1650-1750
    Number: P830001
    Creator/Collector: Le Pautre, Jean, 1618-1682
    Physical Description: 502.0 prints
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: This collection consists of 502 etchings after Le Pautre's own compositions, some published during his lifetime and some republished late. The etchings include historical, mythological, and biblical scenes, exterior and interior architecture, furniture, ornament, and trophies. From Theodore Besterman's collection.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in French

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Theodore Besterman (1904-1976) was a well-known bibliographer, Lecturer in the University of London School of Librarianship, librarian, biographer and book collector.
    Jean Le Pautre (1618-1682), the most important and imaginative ornament engraver of the seventeenth century, was born and died in Paris. He was the brother of Antoine (1614-1691), an architect, and the father of Jacques (d.1684) and Pierre (1648-1716). He began his career in a relative's joinery shop, for which he drew plans and ornaments. In 1640 he may have gone to Rome with Adam Philippon, head of the shop and Le Pautre's mentor. Le Pautre produced his first plate in 1643 and finally became a member of the French Academy in 1667. He created over 1500 prints, nearly all after his own compositions. He disseminated the full repertoire of the Louis XIV style across Europe. His extensive and versatile production included ornament (exterior and interior architecture, furniture for residences and churches, other decorative arts designs, and pure ornament); classical historical and biblical narrative scenes; portraits; broadsheets; business cards; and representations of festive occasions. His work was largely architectural or sculptural, for workers in wood or metal or paint, not usually for textiles. Much of his work was republished in 1751 by Charles Antoine Jombert in three folio volumes titled Oeuvres d'Architecture de Jean Le Pautre.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Jean Le Pautre etchings, ca. 1650-1750. Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. P830001.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1983. Formerly owned by Theodore Besterman.

    Processing History

    Anne-Marie Schaaf processed and rehoused this collection, removing all prints from acidic mats. The finding aid was completed in April 1996.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection consists of 502 etchings after Le Pautre's own compositions, some published during his lifetime and some republished later. Most are undated; some bear dates of 1659, 1661, 1663, and 1667. They were sold by Le Pautre himself, Estienne Gantrel (1646-1706), Jacques Chereau le jeune (1688-1776), Jan Van der Bruggen (w.1649-1714), Nicolas Langlois (b.1640), François de Poilly le vieux (1622-1693), Pierre Mariette (103-1653), Pierre II Mariette (1634-1716, Jean Mariette (1654-1742), and by Le Blond (Christof le vieux, c.1600-1665; Christof le jeune, b.1639; and/or Jacob Christoph, 1667-1741), and Jollain (Gérard, d.1683; François, 1641-1704; and/or François-Gérard, 17th century). All are grouped in suites, usually six prints each, sometimes four, five, or twelve.
    These designs would have been useful for painters, architects, sculptors, furniture-makers, carvers, and metalsmiths. Historical, mythological, and biblical scenes focus on Ovid's Metamorphoses and the story of Moses. Exterior architectural designs depict fountains, gardens, grottoes, and porte-cocheres. Interior architectural designs depict altars, tombs, terms, doors, paneling, chimneypieces, alcoves, and ceilings. Furniture designs depict vases, mirrors, tables, gueridons, frames, and cabinets. Pure ornament patterns include friezes of rinceaux and classical narrative scenes, panels, grotesques, and trophies.
    These prints were part of the art books collection of Theodore Besterman.

    Arrangement note

    The collection is arranged in 10 series: Series I: Historical, mythological, and biblical scenes; Series II: Exterior architecture; Series III: Interior architecture - altars, tombs, terms, doors, paneling; Series IV: Interior architecture - Chimneypieces; Series V: Interior architecture - Alcoves; Series VI: Interior architecture - Ceilings; Series VII: Furniture; Series VIII: Ornament - Friezes; Series IX: Ornament - Panels; Series X: Trophies

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Architectural woodwork--France
    Decoration and ornament, Baroque
    Interior decoration--France

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Etchings--France--17th century
    Etchings--France--18th century

    To request an item:

    Title of suite. Publisher, date.
    State of prints.
    Number of plates. Measurements.
    Bibliographic reference(s).
    Former Rare Book Number.
    Titles are listed exactly as they are rendered on the prints. Supplied titles are in brackets.
    Jean Le Pautre is the designer and etcher, and all entries are etchings.
    All prints are published in Paris.
    Publication information is taken directly from the prints and from bibliographic information.
    Prints are assumed to be first state unless otherwise specified.
    All measurements are in centimeters. For suites or pairs of prints, only one, usually the title page or the first print, has been measured. Pl. = platemark; Sh. = sheet. Al. = album page.
    Guilmard = Désiré Guilmard. Les maîtres ornemanistes, dessinateurs, peintres, architectes, sculpteurs et graveurs; écoles française, italienne, allemande, et des Pays-Bas (flamande & hollandaise). Paris, 1880-81: E. Plon.
    Guilmard p. 70: 11 refers to suite 11 on page 70.
    Berlin Kat. = Staatliche Kunstbibliothek (Berlin, Germany). Katalog der Ornamentstichsammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek, Berlin. Berlin; Leipzig: Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, 1939.
    Berlin Kat. 313: Tome 1, Nr. 11 refers to suite 11 in the first volume of the Jean Le Pautre listing at number 313.
    Album page numbers are written in black ink in the top right margin of the printed sheet or on a sheet onto which the prints are mounted. Most pages were formerly bound, with a cut edge at the left and red or black stain visible on the other three edges. The numbering and binding were probably done in the early twentieth century.
    The Rare Book Numbers were formerly used at the Getty Research Institute.