With more than 100 paintings and 14 sculptures, the permanent exhibition at Villa Vauban takes visitors on a journey through three centuries of artistic creation: from the 17th-century Netherlands to Italian dreamscapes and French painting around 1850. In addition to styles, art periods and numerous masterpieces, there are small formats and miniatures to discover, as well as the spectacular acquisitions of Jean-Pierre Pescatore, benefactor of the City of Luxembourg, on the occasion of the auction of King Willem II of the Netherlands’ collection in 1850.

In fact, the municipal art collection dates back to three important donations of the 19th century: that of the Parisian financier Pescatore in 1855, that of Leo Lippmann, banker in Amsterdam in 1878 and that of Eugénie Dutreux-Pescatore, heiress of a Luxembourg industrialist family, in 1903. The collections, consisting mainly of oil paintings, reflect on the one hand the need for representation and on the other the typically eclectic collecting style of the upper classes.

Among the 17th-century Dutch works, the visitor encounters landscapes, portraits, genre scenes or still lifes by Jan Brueghel the Younger, Gerrit Dou, Jan van Goyen, Adam Pynacker, David Teniers the Younger, Jacob van Ruisdael, Adriaen van de Velde and Philips Wouwerman. Among the small picture formats, portraits by Frans Pourbus the Younger and Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier stand out. The room dedicated to Italian subjects shows beautiful marble sculptures by Lorenzo Nencini, two splendid views of Venice by Canaletto as well as the Young Neapolitan Women by Guillaume Bodinier or a landscape near Sorrento painted by Oswald Achenbach. French art of the 19th century is represented by Eugène Delacroix’s Young Turk, a dreamy portrait by William Adolphe Bouguereau and landscapes by Camille Corot, Jules Dupré or Gustave Courbet. The large- format paintings from the Royal Dutch Collection are dominated by Jan Steen’s Epiphany and Paul Delaroche’s A Mother’s Joy. At the end of the tour, there is a room with changing hangings and a room with 19th-century seascapes, including a remarkable beach scene by Eugène Isabey.

The great diversity of subjects and artistic styles is conveyed at the beginning of the tour in the form of an immersive video projection that transports visitors into the atmosphere of the paintings they will discover on their stroll through art.

A stroll through art. European painting and sculpture, 17th–19th century
Luxembourg 2021, 176 pages, colour plates, ISBN 978-2-919878-22-2, 10 €

Short overview of the exhibition