‘America Collects Eighteenth-Century French Painting’
“The American experience of eighteenth-century French paintings,” writes James Fenton, “could hardly have gotten off to a more distinguished start: in 1815, Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother of Napoleon, former king of Naples and Sicily, also former king of Spain, arrived in New York with his art collection and a library of six thousand books. In due course Joseph settled at an estate called Point Breeze in Bordentown, New Jersey, where he took pleasure in making his paintings available both to visitors to his home and as loans to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Among works of family and military interest, there were also the spoils of his sojourn in Spain and grand French mythological paintings of an erotic bent: Charles-Joseph Natoire’s The Toilet of Psycheand Noël-Nicolas Coypel’s The Abduction of Europa.”
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