Last week we wished bon voyage and au revoir to Jean-Baptiste Oudry’s Indian Blackbuck and Three Pointers (1745) when it travelled to the Palace of Versailles on loan. It is one of the highlights of their upcoming exhibition Les Animaux du Roi which runs until the end of February. The exhibition brings to life the iconic French palace and gardens teeming with animal life under the French Ancien Régime of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Very much a favourite of Louis XV, Oudry was made Painter-in-Ordinary of the Royal Hunt, living at the Tuileries Palace and later at the Louvre - Russborough’s painting was most likely completed in his studio there.
Oudry’s oeuvre includes celebrated portraiture and tapestry design, nevertheless he is best known for his exceptional still-life works and his skill in depicting animals.
The decision to loan a work, especially one as significant as this, is never taken lightly. Careful assessment and planning, along with lots of paperwork and plenty of oversight all come into play. Still, it is good to think of our Oudry at Versailles being enjoyed in a place so deeply intertwined with its own story.