Emmanuel Ducamp



Emmanuel Ducamp, a graduate from the Université de Paris X Nanterre, with a degree in law and art history, has been involved in the development, editing and writing of several books on the history of Russian art from the mid eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. Among his work on the subject are Imperial Palaces in the Vicinity of Saint Petersburg (4 vol.), Pavlovsk, the Palace and the Park (2vol.) or The Winter Palace, Saint Petersburg, all published by Alain de Gourcuff Editeur in Paris, where Mr. Ducamp served as the Editorial Director for eleven years. More recently, Mr. Ducamp co-authored and was the General Editor of Great Private Collections of Imperial Russia (The Vendome Press, New York, 2004) together with Oleg Neverov, a curator at the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg. A Vice President of Paris Saint Petersburg, an association working to strengthen the cultural ties between France and Russia, Mr. Ducamp is interested in gardens, and is currently preparing a book on Russian imperial gardens with the curators of the palaces of Saint Petersburg. He has lectured widely on the subject in Europe and in the US (The Louvre, Paris, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The J.-Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles).


1.An Unknown French Masterpeace: Louis XIV's Gardens in Marly

he King of France created a masterpiece of late seventeenth and early eighteenth century garden design in Marly, his private retreat a few miles away from Versailles and the hustle of the Court. Thefountains, statues and landscaped greenery that he called for, and continuously changed there between 1679 and 1715, formed a series of "green apartments" and bushes, an Arcadian ideal revealing the transition from Baroque to Classical landscape as much as the king’s perpetual search for perfection. Drastically altered for financial reasons, as early as Louis XIV's death in 1715, his gardens and pavilions later did not escape the revolution and the Empire, when the grounds were purchased by Napoleon for hunting territory to complement that of Versailles. Today they are only known through an exceptional series of watercolor paintings commissioned by their creator and preserved at the National Archives in Paris. They serve as the basis for this lecture and enable us to wander through the royal grounds as the royal guests did during "great century".

2.From Saint Petersburg To Paris To Moscow - From the Mid Eighteenth To The Early Twentieth Century: Russian Private Collections in the Making

Imperialist Russia before the 1917 revolution had a great tradition of private collections, beginning with Peter the Great and peaking during the reign of Catherine II and her successors. The aristocracy surrounding the sovereigns, the Sheremetiev, Stroganov and Yussupov families, and the diplomats placed in Western Europe, the Galitzines, were joined in the nineteenth century by amateur Russian collectors living abroad, the Demidovs, and eventually later by the Moscow "merchant-princes" emerging with the industrial revolution. They first went to Paris, the style capital of eighteenth century Europe and a lively market place for the art business, but then these Russian connoisseurs gradually began supporting their national art and retreated to Saint Petersburg and Moscow. This led to the creation, in 1893, of the Tretyakov Gallery, devoted exclusively to Russian paintings. Before World War I though, they returned to France in order to acquire modern artwork on a scale known only by the Empire of the tsars, while the French themselves were discarding what the world has now come to universally admire (Sergei Shchukin owned 50 Picassos, 38 Matisses and 16 Gauguins...).

3.  The 1781-1782 Voyage of the Russian Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich and Maria Feodorvna. From Saint Petersburg to Paris: A Diplomatic Undertaking with Artistic Pursuits

As Catherine the Great was striving to make the Russian Empire part of the Western world, she fought to appear as an enlightened ruler and an accomplished sovereign. Collecting an enormous sum of art work with little or no concern for the expense, she sought to challenge the belief abroad that Russia was just emerging from the Middle Ages, and prove that her country was indeed a model of civilization and refinement. In 1781-82 therefore, she sent her son and heir, Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich, and his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna, on a diplomatic tour of Europe, from Saint Petersburg to Paris, and back, under the aliases "Count and Countess of the North". For 429 days, the royal couple visited the European courts, accumulating paintings, sculptures, silk from Lyon, porcelain from Sevres, furniture from Paris, with plans to furnish their newly built palace at Pavlovsk, a few miles from Catherine's favorite country retreat at Tsarskoie Selo. Today, these masterpieces can still be enjoyed in the Palladian villa, beautifully restored by the Soviet curators and craftsmen after the destruction of World War II, a tribute to Russian history and artistic passions.


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