Nicolas II Esterhazy, 1765-1833, un prince hongrois collectionneur
There still remain a certain number of beautiful mysteries to be solved in the history of art. There is this one for example: when did the Madona Esterházy, a more than famous painting by Raphaello, enter the collection of the princes of the same name? No one knows… It must be said that the goods of this family, the greatest land owners in in Hungary in the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries, were unlimited, both in terms of castles (Eisenstadt, Esterháza, Forchtenstein) as well as in works of art. When the heir ceded the greatest part in 1870 – that is 637 paintings, 3535 drawings and 51301 prints – it became the base to the current museum of the Beaux-Arts of Budapest. The catalogue that accompanies the exhibition at the castle of Compiègne, presents the emblematic figur of the family, Nicolas II, great elector of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, a lover of France (he had a house on rue Le Peletier, in Paris), of music (his correspondence with Beethoven is presented), of gardens, of architecture (one can admire the drawings commissioned to Charles Moreau to modify the castle of Eisenstadt) and, of course, of painting. Aside from the notes on the works, in particular important ones by Ribera, Régnier, Jordaens or Bellotto, the work is worthy for the manner in which it puts into perspective a great family of patrons from Eastern Europe who, while being as important as the dukes of Devonshire in Chatsworth or the Farnèse, remains badly known here in Western Europe.
• Nicolas II Esterhazy, 1765-1833, un prince hongrois collectionneur , 2007, 256 p., 45 €, ISBN : 978-2-7118-5364-9
Review published in the newsletter #67 - from 22 November 2007 to 28 November 2007