LOUIS DE LA RUE, 18TH CENTURY ARTIST
(please click on underlined title for more photos)
In 1750 Louis-Felix de La Rue won the first prize in sculpture at the Royal Academy, having studied with Lambert-Sigisbert Adam, the uncle of Clodion. He subsequently spent a brief period, from 1754 to 1755, in Rome as a pensionnaire and was admitted to the Academie de Saint-Luc in 1760. Before his Roman sojourn, he had worked for the royal porcelain manufactory at Sevres, producing small groups of children after Boucher's designs. Many of his etchings and many of the prodigious number of his drawings depend on Boucher, whereas his sculpture owes much to Clodion.
La Rue's drawings nearly always depict classical themes. . . Love is typical of La Rue's near-mania for the antique. . . . the theme--a sacrifice at a burning altar--was a particular favorite of the artist. . . . pudgy putti are also characteristic of the peculiar style of his draughtsmanship.
Many of his drawings are for ornamental objects. In the Hedou Collection in the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, are two sheets with sketches for oval boxes, one showing winged figures leaning on altars with vases and the other with altars supporting coats of arms. In the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Lille, is a project for a clock, depicting the Three Fates around a smoking altar supporting a vase with the clock's movement and a putto to indicate the time. In the Kunstbibliothek, Berlin, a series of twenty-five sheets of ornamental subjects including candelabra, funeral monuments, furniture, and vases wee models for some of the plates Parizeau etched between 1772 and 1775 at the Suite de vases, trepies, autels, tables, chandeliers, etc. Dans le gout antique, which appeared as seven sets of seventy-four prints after La Rue's premature death at thirty-four.
No box executed after these designs has been traced. Clare Le Corbeiller points out a rectangular gold and enamel box made by Jean-Joseph Barriere of Paris in 1765 that displays La Rue's classical theme and motifs in the manner in which they would probably have been realized. Its cover has at its center a grisaille miniature showing Venus receiving an arrow from cupid, and the sides of the box are decorated with such other classical motifs as putti hanging laurel festoons from antique vases." [Drawings of the 18th Century, by Mary L. Myers]