One day the bosses thought they found the lost portrait of Maurice de Saxe by Hyacinthe Rigaud on a flea market. Hélas, non.
Hermann Moritz Graf von Sachsen, aka. „maréchal de saxe“ (Marshal of Saxony), (born 28. October 1696 in Goslar (that’s my hometown too 😀 ; deceased 30. November 1750 at chateau Chambord) was a german commander and wartheoretician working for the french government.
Hyacinthe Rigaud (aka Hyacinthe-François-Honoré-Mathias-Pierre Martyr-André Jean Rigau y Ros) (born 18. July 1659 in Perpignan, Frankreich; deceased 29. December 1743 in Paris) was the most famous portrayer of the french Ancien Régime (french government before the revolution).
He made a portrait of Moritz aka Maurice. This portrait disappeared. It was copied quite often.
An engraver that copied it was Johann Georg Wille (born 5. November 1715 in Dünsberg near Gießen; deceased 5. April 1808 in Paris). Wille became famous because Rigaud has let him do engravings of all of his portraits.
That’s the engraving of Maurice de Saxe by Johann Georg Wille. It was a copy of the portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud that got lost. I found this picture on an hungarian site about the War of the Austrian Succession. I think it’s a page about the hungarian history but it is in Hungarian, so, that’s just a guess.
A nice short description of Wille’s life in english is at www.oldandsold.com
In France Maurice de Saxe was some kind of popstar. Especially for his winning the battle of Fontenay (in Belgium) against a british guy called the Duke of Cumberland during the war of the Austrian Succession.
Anyways … somebody stole or destroyed (more likely) his nice portrait made by Rigaud. And all we got are those Wille engravings and loads of other copies.
One of those is
a japanese locket (end of 18th century).
This was picture of the week of the museum for far eastern art in Köln in Germany in March 2002. The text was written by Frieda Fischer (1874-1945), a former director of that museum. Again one of my bad translations:
Maurice de Saxe and a japanese beauty? How does that fit? Maurice never went to Japan and at that time it was impossible for Japanese to go to Europe. Japanese were not allowed to leave the country and the penalty was death.
The Netherlands were the only country that had relations with Japan. Dutch were allowed to live in Japan and to do business there.
Who ordered this locket? Was it a Dutch who wanted to make fun of the political enemy, who’s disposedness to amorous adventures was well known…
…Was it a courtier of August der Starke (the father of Maurice de Saxe), who liked chinoiseries and japoneries and collected them. Who has paired up Maurice de Saxe with this Geisha?…
…The rendering of the head of Maurice is not according to japanese methods. It is painted like an engraving.
The engraving by Johann Georg Wille is nowadays in the Kupferstichkabinett in Dresden (Germany). The locket was found in Japan. Whoever ordered it, never collected it.
Maurice de Saxe is the great-grandfather of George Sand a famous french novelist (and feminist).