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The Artistic Heritage of Modena: At the Origin of the Galleria Estense


Francis I (1494–1547), King of France

Workshop of Joos van Cleve (Netherlandish, Cleve ca. 1485–1540/41 Antwerp)

Oil on canvas, transferred from wood
16 x 12 7/8 in. (40.6 x 32.7 cm)
Credit Line:
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number:
  • Catalogue Entry


  • Provenance

    comte Guy de Montbrison, château de St. Roch, Auvillar, France (by 1909; sold to Kleinberger); [Kleinberger, New York, 1909–24; sold to Bloch]; [Vitale Bloch, Vienna, from 1924]; Mrs. Chauncey J. Blair, Chicago; Michael Friedsam, New York (by 1928)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. F. Kleinberger Galleries. "Loan Exhibition of French Primitives and Objects of Art," October 17–November 12, 1927, no. 45 (as by Jean Clouet, lent by Michael Friedsam).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.

    Pasadena Art Institute. February 5–March 26, 1952, no catalogue?

    Poughkeepsie. Vassar College Art Gallery. "Humanism North and South," February 29–March 18, 1956, no catalogue?

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Junior Museum. "The Age of Discovery," October 1, 1957–June 30, 1958, no catalogue?

    Fort Worth Art Center. "The School of Fontainebleau," September 15–December 5, 1965, no catalogue?

    Ottawa. National Gallery of Canada. "A Pageant of Canada," October 27, 1967–January 19, 1968, no. 13.

  • References

    Louis Réau. "Une collection de primitifs français en Amérique." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 13 (January 1926), pp. 9, 12, ill., lists this painting as a work attributed to Jean Clouet, one of several replicas.

    Philip Hendy. "Letters: A Portrait of François I and its Variants." Burlington Magazine 1 (1927), p. 168, states that after receiving a "good modern photograph" of the Friedsam picture, he finds it nearly identical with that at Hampton Court, and not possibly by Joos van Cleve himself.

    Philip Hendy. "A Portrait of François I and its Variants." Burlington Magazine 1 (January 1927), p. 8, publishes and illustrates a group of portraits of Francis I after Joos van Cleve, locating them in the Wallace Collection, London; Hampton Court; the Louvre, Paris; and the gallery at Lyons [now Musée des Beaux-Arts], where it was catalogued as a contemporary copy of an original by Jean Clouet; notes that a fourth variant in the Johson Collection, Philadelphia [now Philadelphia Museum of Art], where it was attributed to a Franco-Flemish artist, appears to be Joos's original, as it is much finer than the others; suggests that the Friedsam portrait, recently brought to his attention, may be a variant by Joos himself.

    Louis Réau in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 164, catalogues it as a work of Jean Clouet and dates it about 1535; notes that several "reproductions" of this portrait are extant, and states that the present work was owned by Mrs. Chauncey Blair, Chicago, before entering the Friedsam collection.

    Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), pp. 12–13, no. 7, refer to it as "one of a number of painted copies after a drawing to which French connoisseurs have attached the name of Jean Clouet," commenting that these works show no connection with generally accepted works by Clouet; notes that a slightly dfferent version came to the Museum in the Dreicer bequest and that many other examples exist; describes them as "all somewhat crude in workmanship," apparently "done by journeymen".

    Katharine Grant Sterne. "The French Primitives in the Friedsam Collection." Parnassus 4 (January 1932), p. 8, attributes it to Jean Clouet and calls it "a masterpiece of both decoration and characterization"; notes the influence of Andrea del Castagno and Andrea Verrocchio.

    Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 138–39, ill., ascribes it to the Workshop of Joos van Cleve.

    Erik Larsen. Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York. Utrecht, 1960, p. 93, as from the workshop of Joos van Cleve.

    Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Underdrawings in Paintings by Joos van Cleve at the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Le dessin sous-jacent dans la peinture. Colloque 4, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1982, pp. 161, 164–65, notes that it shows pouncing and "very summary underdrawing confined to the contours of hands, beard and slits in the front of the costume".

    Larry Silver. "Early Northern European Paintings." Bulletin of the Saint Louis Art Museum, n.s., 16 (Summer 1982), p. 39, discusses a variant in the Saint Louis Museum of Art, noting that the finest extant Joos van Cleve version of Francis I is in Philadelphia [Johnson Collection]; mentions our panel as a weaker version of the Philadelphia portrait.

    Lorne Campbell. The Early Flemish Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen. Cambridge, 1985, p. 30, catalogues the variant formerly at Hampton Court and now at Windsor Castle; classifies a group of eleven portraits of Francis I into types, including ours with those in whch the the King's right hand is turned away from the sitter and the doublet is slashed; notes that all of these portraits are now generally thought to derive from a prototype by Joos van Cleve; observes that the Philadelphia version is often thought to be that prototype, but suggests that there may have been several prototypes showing the King differently posed and dressed.

    From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, p. 409, ill.

    John Oliver Hand. Joos van Cleve: The Complete Paintings. New Haven, 2004, p. 168, no. 85.8, as "copy of Joos".

  • Notes

    For a thorough discussion of this panting and related versions of the composition, see Ref. Campbell 1985.

  • See also