|Georges de La Tour, Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop, 1645, oil on canvas, 137 x 101 cm.|
Reading Art History News and the Tribune de l'Art posts about the Louvre's acquisition of a painter, hitherto unrepresented in that museum, Jean Le Clerc, got me thinking about a glaring 17th century French omission in our own National Gallery. This is a painter who may have influenced Le Clerc, Georges de La Tour. Though the gallery has a good collection of the French school, Poussin, Claude, Mignard, Le Sueur, the Le Nain, Champaigne, Vouet, it doesn’t posses a La Tour, though it had the chance when one was offered to the gallery for a low price under Kenneth Clark’s directorship. However, Clark with typical patrician scorn dismissed La Tour’s wonderful Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop as too vulgar, even when Anthony Blunt and an influential aristocrat tried to sway Clark. It isn’t always the acquisition budget that counts in these matters.
If you’re wondering what museum now has possession of the rejected La Tour- given to it in 1948….Take a wild guess!