Discovered at TEFAF, A Sculpture of King Louis XIV’s First Surgeon Returns to Versailles
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The acquisition of a bust presented at TEFAF Maastricht tells the story of one of Versailles’ former inhabitants, Georges Mareschal (1658-1736). Mareschal was an important figure at the court of Louis XIV as the king’s first surgeon, who remained at the king’s side until his death in 1715. Mareschal was portrayed by François Girardon, who Alexandre Maral—curator at Versailles and expert on the French artist—calls “one of the greatest sculptors of Louis XIV’s reign.” The sculpture remained in possession of the sitter’s descendants and had not been seen in public since the early twentieth century when it was last exhibited. Maral knew of its existence through a black-and-white photograph, and it was a surprise to both him and Salomé to find it while at TEFAF Maastricht in 2020, where it was presented by Stuart Lochhead Sculpture. “We had no idea [the sculpture] was going to appear at TEFAF. Seeing it in the real was one of those surprises you have at TEFAF. We had to react very quickly.”
See how the bust by François Girardon returned to its home in the galleries of Versailles in the latest video from TEFAF’s Museum Stories series.