Auction 77 Antiques & Works of Art


White Greyhound

Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755)


65.000 - 100.000

Session 2

23 May 2018


Oil on canvas
Signed and dated 1748

Provenance: de La Porte collection, Château de l’Ansaudière (Mayenne, France);
Private collection, England, 1968

81,5x99 cm



Lot Essay

By Karen Chastagnol
Curator Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature - Paris

Pupil of his father, then of Michel Serre and Nicolas Largilliere, Jean-Baptiste Oudry was one of the most prolific and successful artists of his time. Although devoted to all genres of painting, Oudry reached the peak of his fame under the reign of Louis XV with animal depictions and hunting scenes.

He was received at the Maîtrise de Saint-Luc, of which his father was director in 1708, then at the Royal Academy in 1719, reaching the rank of assistant professor in 1739 and professor in 1743. Oudry was appointed artistic director of the Beauvais tapestry factory in 1734 and inspector of the Gobelins tapestry factory in 1736. Painter of hunting scenes, exotic and domestic animals, landscapes, portraits, still life, history and genre, he was also a talented illustrator and the author of many patterns for tapestry models.

Introduced to the young Louis XV by the Marquis de Beringhen, first king's squire, Oudry was appointed ordinary painter of the vénerie royale. Between 1725 and 1732 the artist painted the famous series of portraits of the king’s dogs, commissioned directly by Louis XV for the decoration of his rooms at the Château de Compiègne.

The painting now presented for sale is part of this tradition of representing the dogs of the aristocratic and bourgeois families. Greyhounds, as their French name suggests, were intended primarily for hare hunting, being the only breed capable to chase them - they only hunt at sight as they are devoid of smell. They are also excellent company dogs.

In this painting the artist depicts with grace all the allure of this breed. Here the female greyhound is presented adorning a blue collar, in an elegant landscape clear of any architectural element. The animal is portrayed in motion and with tense muscles. The white short coat of hair highlights the sculptural musculature, supported by the subtle use of light and shadows.

As for the works commissioned by Luis XV, Oudry’s composition is focused on a descriptive portrait of the animal’s head and not only on its morphology, a mix of elegance and strength. The artist has made here the great expressiveness of the dog through the eyes.

Despite some losses and a thick yellow varnish layer beautiful parts stand out - in particular the head, which offers a very sensitive treatment, as well as the coat of hair and the expression of the animal. The position of the dog, resting on its rear legs and turning its head to the left brings this work closer to Misse et Luttine, painted by Oudry for the King in 1729 (now at the National Gallery, Washington).

This painting will be included in Jean-Baptiste Oudry Catalogue Raisonné written by Hal Opperman and Karen Chastagnol.

Closed Auction