Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Ducks Resting in Sunshine

Jean-Baptiste Oudry (French, Paris 1686–1755 Beauvais)
Oil on canvas
25 1/2 x 31 3/4 in. (64.8 x 80.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, 1871
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 616
This picture and Dog Guarding Dead Game (71.89) were exhibited in the Salon of 1753, the last in which Oudry participated. The two, while not conceived as pendants, were hung together by the collector Ange Laurent de La Live de Jully. Oudry made his reputation painting Louis XV's hunts and royal animals.
Celebrated as a painter of still lifes and particularly of animals, Jean Baptiste Oudry often drew and painted sketches outdoors, working directly from nature. According to his biographers at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, he not only made repeated visits to the forests around Paris, but traveled to Dieppe to see the freshest fish. The seven ducks Oudry depicts here are set in a carefully observed landscape. Although many of his settings are recognizable places, this is likely an invented location. See also 71.89.

[Katharine Baetjer 2010]
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 71.89 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. 31.

New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Paris — New York, A Continuing Romance," November 3–December 17, 1977, no. 45.

Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "J.-B. Oudry, 1686–1755," October 1, 1982–January 3, 1983, no. 146.

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. 393.

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. 69, no. 347, lists this painting in the Salon of 1753.

Jean Vergnet-Ruiz in Les peintres français du XVIIIe siècle: Histoire des vies et catalogue des oeuvres. Ed. Louis Dimier. Vol. 2, Paris, 1930, p. 189, no. 13, lists the two pictures among lost works.

H[ans]. V[ollmer]. in Allgemeines 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. 131–33, ill., as pendants.

Jan Lauts. Die Jagd in der Kunst. Vol. 16, Jean-Baptiste Oudry. Hamburg, 1967, p. 26, pl. 11.

Barbara Scott. "La Live de Jully: Pioneer of Neo-Classicism." Apollo 97 (January 1973), p. 75, ill. p. 73.

Denys Sutton in Paris—New York: A Continuing Romance. Exh. cat., Wildenstein. New York, 1977, p. 51, no. 45, fig. 34.

Hal N. Opperman. Jean-Baptiste Oudry. PhD diss., University of Chicago. New York, 1977, vol. 1, pp. 122, 205, 233, 500, 517, no. P380; vol. 2, fig. 356, includes this picture in a group he describes as a "barnyard genre".

Hal N. Opperman. J.-B. Oudry, 1686–1755. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. Paris, 1982, pp. 220–21, 255–56, no. 146, ill., separates this picture from its pendant, noting that the two were not identified as a pair in 1753; observes that they were part of a group of seven relatively small pictures shown which were for sale; suggests that this painting was a study from nature and notes that these are domesticated rather than wild ducks.

Colin B. Bailey in Ange-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, colorpl. 44.

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. 105, ill. p. 208, fig. 22.

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