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Jamot, Paul

    Image Credit: Wikipedia

    Full Name: Jamot, Paul

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1863

    Date Died: 1939

    Home Country/ies: France

    Subject Area(s): ancient and painting (visual works)

    Career(s): art collectors and curators


    Curator of the department of Painting, Louvre, 1927-1939; art collector. Jamot studied at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, Paris and the École normale supérieure in Paris where his classmate was the future art historian Étienne Michon. Graduating in 1884 he was named member of the School of Athens in 1887. There he explored Argos and the valley of the Spercheios, leading excavations in the valley of the Muses in Thespies between 1888 and 1891. He cataloged inscriptions, most notably the so-called stele of Hesiod. These recollections were covered in his En gréce avec Charalambos Eugénidis (1914).   He married Madeleine Dauphin-Dornès (1864-1913).  He joined the Musee du Louvre’s  Department of Oriental Antiquities and Ancient Ceramics in1890, under the direction of Léon Alexandre Heuzey and Pottier. There he devoted his time to writing catalogs for the department and developing a reputation for disputing long-held attributions.  A celebrated disagreement over the Athena Lemnia, an attribution by the eminent Adolf Furtwaengler ultimately ended in his favor. In 1894, Georges Perrot appointed him secrétariat de la publication, editor of the newly established publication Monuments et mémoires de la Fondation Eugène Piot, (Monuments et mémoires publiés par l’Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres), ultimately editing twenty-two volumes.  He became deputy curator in 1902. Jamot turned his interest to painting, initially research in 1906 on Nicolas Poussin.  In 1909, he was assigned the task of reorganizing the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes with Le Prieur. He supervised the installation of art at the new Musée des beaux-arts de Reims in 1913. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914 Jamot oversaw the evacuation of Louvre artworks to Toulouse, remaining with them there. He returned to Paris at the sudden death of Le Prieur succeeding him in the painting department overseeing the return of the work. He was awarded the chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, one of the first civilians.  He resigned from Monuments editorship in 1919 when named deputy curator of the painting department at the Louvre at the suggestion of Jean Guiffrey. Jamot began publishing catalogs and writing on a variety of French painters, but his affection was clearly Delacroix. Together with the comtesse Waresquiel, he lead the l’âme de la Société des Amis de Delacroix.  He became head of the department of painting in 1927. Under his leadership at the Louvre, many scholars developed their craft, including Charles Sterling. Jamot and Sterling mounted the famous 1934 exhibition at the Orangerie, Peintres de la réalité en France au XViie siècle. The exhibition caused a re-evaluation of French 17th-century painting, revealing Georges de la Tour as major figure and bringing to fore the work of the Le Nain, among others. After retiring from the Louvre, he focused attention on monuments preservation, succeeding Henri Cochin as the head of the Société Saint- Jean.  His interest was particularly the cathedrals of Reims and Autun. He was succeeded at the Louvre department by Rene Huyghe. At his death, his personal art collection of paintings by Corot, Carpeaux, Courbet, Delacroix, Maurice Denis, Forain, Ingres, Picasso, and Renoir was bequeathed to the Louvre. He is buried at the Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris.

    Marcel Aubert characterized Jamot’s scholarship as focusing mainly on the technique and connoisseurship, “à son esprit: méthode délicate, parfois  dangereuse, mais qu’il maniait avec une habileté remarquable.”  Daniel Catton Rich in his Degas (1966) praised Jamot for his careful analysis, attributing him as first recognizing Degas’ psychology (“interior drama”).

    Selected Bibliography

    En gréce avec Charalambos Eugénidis.  Paris: H. Floury ed. 1914;  Degas.  Paris: Éd. de la Gazette des Beaux-arts, 1924; Edouard Manet, 1832-1883 : a retrospective loan exhibition for the benefit of the French Hospital and the Lisa Day Nursery.  New York: Wildenstein, 1937; Connaisance de Poussin. Paris: Floury, 1948; Introduction à l’histoire de la peinture. Paris: Plon 1947.


    Qui êtes-vous?: annuaire des contemporains: notices biographiques. Paris: Ruffy, 1924; Gros, G. J. “La collection Paul Jamot.” Beaux Arts Magazine (October 7 1938): 4; Haskell, Francis. The Ephemeral Museum: Old Master Paintings and the Rise of the Art Exhibition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000, p. 137ff; [obituary:] Beaux Arts Magazine (January 1 1940): p.26; Rich, Daniel Catton.  Degas.  New York:  Harry N. Abrams, 1966, p. 11.

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Jamot, Paul." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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