Oudry made his reputation painting hunting scenes and royal animals for Louis XV and various wealthy Parisian patrons. The verisimilitude with which he renders the creatures epitomizes his precise painterly style; he specifically identifies the game as a fox, a wood pigeon, a woodpecker, a curlew, and a jay.
Although he trained with the portraitist Nicolas de Largillierre (1656–1746), Jean Baptiste Oudry found fame as the painter of hunting scenes, still lifes, and animals. He was admitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture as a history painter in 1719. Among his most important royal commissions were a large canvas representing Louis XV (1710–1774) hunting in the forest of Saint-Germain in 1730 (Musée des Augustins, Toulouse) and designs for tapestries depicting royal hunts which he began to paint shortly thereafter. These celebrated tapestries were woven at the Gobelins manufactory, of which Oudry later became inspector; he had been appointed director of the royal tapestry manufactory at Beauvais in 1734.
In Dog Guarding Dead Game the spoils of a hunt are laid out in front of a stone ruin in a wooded landscape. Oudry described them as a fox, a wood pigeon, a woodpecker, a curlew, and a jay. The verisimilitude with which the game is rendered is characteristic: Oudry was said to have borrowed fine vegetables and game from a Paris grocer to study. The painting was exhibited at Oudry's last Salon, in 1753, with Ducks Resting in Sunshine (The Met, 71.57). Although the two were not conceived as pendants, they were hung together by the prominent collector Ange Laurent de La Live de Jully (1725–1779).
[Katharine Baetjer 2013]
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): JB. oudry. 1753
Ange Laurent de La Live de Jully, Paris (after 1764–70; his sale, Rémy, Paris, May 2–14, 1770, no. 70, this picture and MMA 71.57 for 501 livres to Leroy or Le Roy); [Léon Gauchez and Alexis Febvre, Paris, until 1870; sold to Blodgett]; William T. Blodgett, Paris and New York (1870–71; sold half share to Johnston); William T. Blodgett and John Taylor Johnston, New York (1871; sold to MMA)
Paris. Salon. 1753, no. 28.
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Paris — New York, A Continuing Romance," November 3–December 17, 1977, no. 46.
Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "J.-B. Oudry, 1686–1755," October 1, 1982–January 3, 1983, no. 121.
Louis Gougenot. Mémoires inédits sur la vie et les ouvrages des membres de l'académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. Vol. 2, Jean-Baptiste Oudry. Paris, 1854, p. 392.
Charles Blanc. Le trésor de la curiosité. Vol. 1, Paris, 1857, p. 168, lists the buyer at the La Live de Jully sale as Le Roy.
Jean Locquin. Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre de Jean-Baptiste Oudry, peintre du roi (1686–1755). Paris, 1912, p. 37, no. 188, lists this painting in the Salon of 1753.
Jean Vergnet-Ruiz inLes peintres français du XVIIIe siècle: Histoire des vies et catalogue des oeuvres. Ed. Louis Dimier. Vol. 2, Paris, 1930, p. 189, no. 12, lists the two pictures among lost works.
H[ans]. V[ollmer]. inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 26, Leipzig, 1932, p. 98.
Charles Sterling. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of French Paintings. Vol. 1, XV–XVIII Centuries. Cambridge, Mass., 1955, pp. 130, 132, ill., as pendants.
Colin Eisler. "A Chardin in the Grand Manner." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 18 (February 1960), p. 208, ill. p. 210.
Jan Lauts. Die Jagd in der Kunst. Vol. 16, Jean-Baptiste Oudry. Hamburg, 1967, p. 26.
Barbara Scott. "La Live de Jully: Pioneer of Neo-Classicism." Apollo 97 (January 1973), p. 75.
Michel Faré and Fabrice Faré. La vie silencieuse en France: La nature morte au XVIIIe siècle. Fribourg, Switzerland, 1976, p. 131, fig. 206.
Hal N. Opperman. Jean-Baptiste Oudry. PhD diss., University of Chicago. New York, 1977, vol. 1, pp. 117, 205, 233, 500, 516–17, no. P416; vol. 2, fig. 355.
Hal N. Opperman. J.-B. Oudry, 1686–1755. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. Paris, 1982, pp. 25, 220–21, 255, no. 121, ill. pp. 27 (in color), and 220, separates this picture from its pendant, noting that the two were not identified as a pair when exhibited in 1753; observes that they were part of a group of seven relatively small pictures shown which were for sale.
Eleanor Tufts. Luis Meléndez: Eighteenth-Century Master of the Spanish Still Life: With a Catalogue Raisonné. Columbia, Mo., 1985, p. 47, fig. 53.
Colin B. Bailey inAnge-Laurent de La Live de Jully: A Facsimile Reprint of the "Catalogue historique" (1764) and the "Catalogue raisonné des tableaux" (March 5, 1770). New York, 1988, pp. XXIII, LVIII–LIX.
Colin B. Bailey. Patriotic Taste: Collecting Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Paris. New Haven, 2002, pp. 51–52.
Katharine Baetjer. "Buying Pictures for New York: The Founding Purchase of 1871." Metropolitan Museum Journal 39 (2004), pp. 172–73, 208, 245, appendix 1A no. 104, ill. p. 208, fig. 21.
Artist: Designer: Jean-Baptiste Oudry (French, Paris 1686–1755 Beauvais)Date: designed in 1733, probably woven in 1740Medium: Wool, silk (21 warps per inch, 10 per cm.)Accession: 60.101On view in:Not on view
Artist: Jean-Baptiste Oudry (French, Paris 1686–1755 Beauvais)Date: 1732Medium: Brush and black ink and gray wash, heightened with white on blue paper. Framing lines in dark brown ink and blue wash.Accession: 1976.99On view in:Not on view
Artist: Jean-Baptiste Oudry (French, Paris 1686–1755 Beauvais)Date: 1744Medium: Charcoal, stumped, black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on blue-green paperAccession: 10.45.28On view in:Not on view