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Pre-emption by the Musée Condé of Chantilly of a rare drawing of a child

by François Quesnel (1543-1616)

Francois Quesnel

Thanks to the Friends of the Musée Condé, the Château de Chantilly was able to acquire a child’s portrait drawn by François Quesnel (1543-1616) at the public auction organized by Artcurial on March 23, 2022, exercising the State’s right of pre-emption, for €28,000 at the hammer.

Decorator, altarpiece painter and designer of cartoons for tapestries, Quesnel was above all a portraitist, in oil and pencil. Son of Pierre Quesnel, a painter in the service of James V of Scotland, François Quesnel appears in the royal accounts from 1571 onwards for royal entrance decorations and coin designs. He was never a painter to the king, but was one of the most successful portraitists, especially at court, in the generation following the death of François Clouet.

Most of his works are now in the Prints and Photography Department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France and in the Boldéian Library in Oxford. The Portrait of a Young Boy pre-empted by the Musée Condé is one of the few sheets to bear an inscription giving him authorship of the drawing. Known for nearly a century, this drawing has helped establish the artist’s corpus.

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