Volume 22, Issue 1 | Spring 2023

The fonds Desjardins and the Parisian Art Dealers of the Postrevolutionary Era

by Madeleine Dempster

There is no doubt that the French Revolution of 1789 had a significant impact on France’s art market. Yet as many scholars have previously stated, fully understanding this impact is complicated, as it encompasses many different stories that are not always confined to France. This article explores one such story, that of the fonds Desjardins. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, churchman Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins (1753–1833) exported about 180 paintings from France to Québec, Canada, that together came to be known as the fonds Desjardins. These works were subsequently sold and hung in local churches, where many of them still hang today. While the impact of the fonds on Québec’s art history has been expertly explored by scholars, much of the information surrounding Desjardins’s acquisitions remains obscure. Recently, however, I have rediscovered a letter written by Desjardins in 1805 which provides specific information on his purchase of a group of paintings.‍[1] The letter is analyzed here for the first time in the context of the fonds and the French art market. This article does not address in great detail each painting purchased; nor does it offer a detailed analysis of the postrevolutionary art market as a whole. Rather, it considers what the letter might suggest about the practices of art dealers following the French Revolution, examined through the lens of Desjardins’s purchases.

figure 1
Fig. 1, Zéphirin Belliard (designer), after a painting by Paulin Guérin, and Imprimerie Lemercier (lithographer), Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins, Vicaire Général de Paris, Archidiacre de Ste. Geneviève (Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins, Vicar General of Paris, Archdeacon of Ste. Geneviève), 1819–1900. Lithograph. Musée de la Civilisation, Québec City. Artwork in the public domain; photograph courtesy of the Musée de la Civilisation.

Philippe-Jean-Louis (fig. 1) and his brother Louis-Joseph Desjardins (1766–1848) were born in the commune of Messas, France, to a family of winemakers in 1753 and 1766, respectively.‍[2] Unlike their elder siblings, Philippe and Louis did not enter the family business, instead building careers as priests in the Catholic Church. Both lived and worked happily at various places in France until the Revolution of 1789 began. The Revolution brought both political and religious reform to France. Most notably, it caused France to shift from its former position as a predominantly Catholic country to one that favored secular philosophy. By 1792, officials of the Catholic Church were expected to conform to certain requirements such as pledging allegiance to the state, thus making them civil servants, or risk being deported.‍[3] By 1793, the Desjardins brothers had fled from France and had found refuge in the French colonies of Canada, where Catholicism was still widely practiced.‍[4] Over the course of the next few years, the Desjardins rebuilt their careers in the Catholic Church of Québec, which welcomed them with open arms.‍[5]

In 1802, after the Revolution had come to an end and Catholicism was no longer frowned upon in France, Louis chose to stay in Canada while Philippe returned home due to poor health.‍[6] Upon Philippe’s departure from Québec, his Canadian colleagues asked if he might send them some paintings from France for their churches, which contained very little art.‍[7] Philippe agreed, seeing this as an opportunity to also buy art to ship back to Louis, who could sell the works to Québec churches. Philippe planned to use the profits he earned from this venture to help his family, who had fallen on hard times.‍[8] Philippe arrived in France in 1803, and over the course of the next two decades scoured the French art market and sent his purchases back to Louis in two batches: the first in 1816 and the second in 1820.‍[9]

Canadian art historian Laurier Lacroix has conducted detailed and insightful research into the fonds Desjardins, to which this article is indebted. His study of Louis’s inventory of the imported works, the brothers’ personal correspondence, and the establishment of the fonds catalogue, and his in-depth discussion of how the fonds shaped the development of art in Québec, have been essential to all subsequent research on the fonds. In 2017, a comprehensive exhibition catalogue, jointly published by the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Québec City and the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, reviewed the iconography and history of each work in the fonds, addressed matters of their conservation, and built on Lacroix’s research by bringing attention to the French context for the collection. The catalogue also discusses the political and religious shifts that occurred during the Revolution, which caused an influx of religious art onto the market, and makes an effort to trace the origins of the paintings in the fonds, in part by researching the major warehouses that were used to hold church paintings during the Revolution. Despite this extensive research, the way in which Philippe actually acquired most of the paintings in the fonds largely remains a mystery.

The inventory, written and annotated by Louis, offers no information about Philippe’s suppliers or what he paid for his acquisitions. Each entry is limited to the title of the painting, the name of its artist, and which Québec church purchased it, leaving many unanswered questions. A bit more information about Philippe’s purchases is scattered throughout his personal correspondence and in rare financial documents from the Québec churches that purchased the works.‍[10] Typically, however, this information is general and does not include details such as the names of the dealers who sold Philippe the paintings.

A Rediscovered Letter

In March of 1805, two years after his return to France, Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins wrote a letter in French to a Mr. Joseph Nancrède (1761–1840) (figs. 2–4 and Appendix). The letter is brief, only two pages, but provides important insight into the purchases Philippe made and his interaction with French art dealers. On the first page of the document is a brief note in which Philippe asks Nancrède to let him know what date would be the most convenient for the two of them to pick up a group of paintings, about which he provides information on the next page. The text is somewhat ambiguous; although Philippe refers to the paintings as his, nothing on the letter’s first page indicates whether or not he has paid for them. He then informs Nancrède that he will meet him at his home and the two will make their way together to the dealer’s shop, accompanied by “some painter.”‍[11] The note also suggests that Philippe has already been in contact with the dealer, who will “be informed and pull the works from the store in time for their visit” after Philippe receives Nancrède’s response.‍[12] Because the works had already been selected, it is clear that this was not Philippe’s first visit to the store. The note provides no information about the relationship between Nancrède, Philippe, and the art dealer, and the formal nature of the writing offers no hints.

figure 2
Fig. 2, Letter from [Philippe-Jean-Louis] Desjardins to [Joseph] Nancrède, March 7, 1805. MG24-K56, vol. 1, file 2, 73–75, Fonds Joseph Nancrède. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa. Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.
figure 3
Fig. 3, Letter from [Philippe-Jean-Louis] Desjardins to [Joseph] Nancrède, March 7, 1805. MG24-K56, vol. 1, file 2, 73–75, Fonds Joseph Nancrède. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa. Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.
figure 4
Fig. 4, Letter from [Philippe-Jean-Louis] Desjardins to [Joseph] Nancrède, March 7, 1805. MG24-K56, vol. 1, file 2, 73–75, Fonds Joseph Nancrède. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa. Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.

The second page of the letter consists of specific information about the paintings being purchased, provided in the form of a list. Written at the top of the page is the sentence “Paintings bought from Mr. Caylar rue de Lille no. 706,” a clear indication that the paintings had, in fact, been paid for.‍[13] Twenty-five paintings are listed on this page, some grouped by subject. Each painting is given a title (likely the subject of the work) and a price, and is identified as an original or a copy. Twelve of the entries also include the last name of the artist (and occasionally, a first initial). At the end of the list is the sum total of the prices. No part of this document mentions Canada, Québec, or whether these works would be shipped out of France. However, there is evidence to suggest that some, if not all, of the paintings listed correspond to paintings in the fonds Desjardins. First, some of the works in this list of 1805 also appear in the inventory written by Louis-Joseph Desjardins. For example, the list includes a painting of the Resurrection de J. c. (Resurrection of J. c.) by an artist named Châles. This, I propose, might well correspond to no. 63 in Louis’s inventory, a Resurrection by Châles, which was sent to the church of St. Roch in Québec (fig. 5).‍[14] There are many paintings picturing the Resurrection in the fonds, but only one by the artist Châles (or Challes). Another painting in the 1805 list, referred to as St. Pierre aux liens (Deliverance of Saint Peter) by an artist whose name, only partially legible, seems to read as La Force, may correspond to no. 72 in Louis’s inventory, a work listed as St. Pierre aux liens by Lafosse.‍[15] It is possible to identify other matches between the list and the inventory, some more plausible than others. But what most closely connects the 1805 document to the Desjardins brothers and to Québec is the last line of the document, which reads “2 Holy Families commissioned by the priest of Boucherville.”‍[16] As recorded by Lacroix, Philippe, upon his departure for France, had been asked to purchase paintings for the church of Ste. Famille in Boucherville.‍[17] It is likely that this last entry on the 1805 list refers to the church in Boucherville, Québec, which has had a Ste. Famille parish since 1678.

figure 5
Fig. 5, Charles-Michel-Ange Challes, La Résurrection (The Resurrection), ca. 1754–58. Oil on panel. Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Québec City. Artwork in the public domain; photograph courtesy of Jacques Beardsell, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec.

Having established a likely connection between the letter of 1805 and the fonds Desjardins, I now turn to the names included in the letter: Joseph Nancrède and a Mr. Caylar. Understanding who they are, and their roles in these purchases, will allow us to better understand not only how Philippe made his purchases but also how he fit into the Parisian art market and the networks to which he was connected. Specifically, research into Mr. Caylar offers us a more detailed view of the practices of art dealing in the early nineteenth century, which in turn leads us to another dealer who worked in a similar manner, Alphonse Giroux (1776–1848). While there is currently no evidence suggesting that Giroux and Philippe worked together, a comparison of the work of Giroux and Caylar provides an interesting case study of postrevolutionary art dealers and their response to the increase in religious works in the art market.

Joseph Nancrède

Nancrède was a newspaper publisher, book dealer, and book importer in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.‍[18] Much of his publishing activity centered on improving relations between French and American peoples.‍[19] Although he was based in the United States, he also had ties to Canada through his business and his personal life, having sent his daughter and at least one of his sons to study in Montréal in 1803.‍[20] In 1804, following his divorce and the end of his newspaper-publishing career, Nancrède returned to France with all of his children, where scholar Madeleine B. Stern tells us he “dabbled” in everything: the arts, books, politics, and real estate.‍[21] Although he briefly returned to the United States in 1812, he spent his remaining years in France.

In researching how Nancrède and Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins came to know one another, I have identified a number of fascinating shared acquaintances that may have been instrumental in bringing these two men together, namely Louis-Joseph Papineau (1786–1871), Louis Dulongpré (1754–1843), and Joseph-Octave Plessis (1763–1825).

Papineau was a Montréal-born politician, lawyer, and art collector. At the time Philippe left for France, Papineau was a student at the Petit-Séminaire of Québec City and may have been acquainted with Philippe and other members of the clergy from that teaching institution.‍[22] Papineau offers two possible scenarios for the connection between Nancrède and Philippe. First, it is known that in the later years of his life Nancrède was friends with Papineau, and that Papineau purchased artworks from Philippe.‍[23] While the documents pertaining to Nancrède and Papineau’s friendship do not suggest that they were friends or even that they knew each other prior to the 1830s, it is a connection that should be kept in mind. Furthermore, in 1850, Amédée Papineau (1819–1903), son of Louis-Joseph, published an autobiography of his life from 1837 to 1850. In this text, we learn that his father attended school with one of Nancrède’s sons, and the two were good friends and knew each other’s families well. It is perhaps through these two sons, then, that Nancrède and Philippe were connected.‍[24]

Second, Louis-Joseph’s father, Joseph Papineau (1752­–1841), was friends with the French artist Dulongpré, who was one of the few artists working in Québec in the early nineteenth century. In 1796–97, Dulongpré drew a pastel portrait of Louis-Joseph at ten years of age.‍[25] Sometime before 1808, Dulongpré had even painted a portrait of Louis-Joseph Desjardins.‍[26] There are two ways in which Dulongpré may have served as a connection between Nancrède and Philippe: both Dulongpré and Nancrède were members of French military troops deployed to the United States during the American Revolution.‍[27] Although they may not have been part of the same troop, perhaps the two of them met during this deployment and Dulongpré connected Louis-Joseph Papineau to Nancrède, thus creating an opportunity for Papineau to introduce Philippe and Nancrède. Alternatively, Dulongpré may have served as a direct connection between Nancrède and Philippe: following his time in the military, Dulongpré became an active painter of religious works in Canada, settling in Montréal.‍[28] He restored artworks for the Desjardins brothers, who also occasionally commissioned works from him.‍[29]

Plessis was a Québec man who built his career in the Catholic Church and from 1819 to 1825 was the first archbishop of the province.‍[30] He was also an avid book collector, who began building his collection in the 1790s; over time it gained an impressive reputation for the quality and quantity of its books.‍[31] In his fascinating research on the collection, Gilles Gallichan discovered that some of the books had been imported from Europe.‍[32] Could Plessis have been in touch with the well-established book dealer Nancrède, who in the 1790s had also begun importing material from Europe?‍[33] That the Desjardins brothers and Plessis were regularly corresponding makes this potential connection even more intriguing.‍[34]

While no definitive conclusion can be drawn about how Nancrède and Philippe may have met, it is clear that the French-speaking and Catholic communities in nineteenth-century North America and France were strongly interconnected.

What was the role that Nancrède played in Philippe’s purchases? It is possible that he helped Philippe navigate the art market and provided valuable information on how to ship goods from Europe to North America.‍[35] Equally compelling is the possibility that Nancrède played a financial role; in 1803, Philippe wrote to a fellow priest: “to profit quickly, so that I might get a return on my financial investment, or rather that of my friends, I will consign these works to a dealer, who will take care of selling them.”‍[36] This suggests that Philippe lacked the capital he needed to make the painting purchases on his own, and perhaps Nancrède was one of the friends on whose investment he wanted to see a return.

Mr. Caylar

The Parisian dealer Caylar, whom Nancrède and Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins were visiting, has proven to be an elusive figure—so elusive, in fact, that his first name and life dates remain unknown.‍[37] Some early nineteenth-century sources provide details about his business. For example, an entry in L’Almanach du commerce de Paris (The Almanac of commerce in Paris) from 1805 lists a “Caillard, R. de Lille, 706 – F. de Gr.,” under the heading “Tableaux. (Marchands de)” (Paintings. [Dealers of]), which confirms the address provided in the letter of 1805. He may not have been there long however, as an advertisement in an 1806 edition of La Gazette nationale ou Le Moniteur universel mentions an engineer residing at this address.‍[38] An advertisement placed in the November 9, 1808, edition of Le Journal de Paris provides another address for Caylar and further details about his business:

M. Cailar, Parisian painting dealer, rue de Lille, no. 23, near rue de Beaune, has the honor of letting the gentlemen of the clergy know, that he has purchased almost all of the paintings which came out of the churches and religious institutions of Paris and its surrounding environment, most of which came from the Cathedral; as well as the majority of the paintings from the churches of Brussels, Mechelen, Antwerp and Ghent. All of these paintings are originals and were made by great French, Flemish and other artists. There are line engravings of most of these paintings and it is from these engravings that these other dealers, who call themselves painters, make on a daily basis very poor copies, that they pompously advertise in all of the newspapers and at a much higher price than the price M. Cailar would sell his original paintings that he advertises. M. Cailard still has in his possession a number of painting collections, to decorate galleries and the finest apartments.‍[39]

Caylar’s name also appears in Benjamin Peronnet and Burton B. Fredericksen’s 1998 compendium of French painting sales between 1801 and 1810. In the catalogue of a sale of November 28, 1810, 166 paintings are featured, which had all come from churches and other religious buildings. When the sale was advertised, these works were marketed as having been “saved from destruction” during the Revolution.‍[40] Many of the works had passed through Revolution-era warehouses and were now owned by private collectors or dealers.‍[41] Unfortunately, at the time of the sale the catalogues were published without the name of the dealer who was reselling the works. In 1976, Antoine Schnapper and Daniel Ternois posited that this sale was in fact organized by the well-known dealer J. B. Lebrun.‍[42] However, in the 1998 compendium, Peronnet and Fredericksen proposed that the dealer in charge was Caylar.‍[43]

Previous scholars of the fonds have posited that Philippe may have surrendered some of the works he purchased to Cardinal Joseph Fesch (1763–1839) before the rest were shipped overseas.‍[44] According to Schnapper and Ternois, and Peronnet and Fredericksen, Fesch likely also benefited from the November 28, 1810, sale.‍[45] While Fesch usually sent someone to attend such sales on his behalf, he was supposedly aware of this sale and saw value in the paintings on offer.‍[46] Fesch is thought to have purchased all the works, subsequently distributing them to the churches in his diocese of Lyon (first, however, keeping a few for himself).‍[47] While Philippe would not have attended this sale due to his imprisonment in Italy,‍[48] the ties between Caylar, Fesch, and Philippe, like those between Philippe, Louis-Joseph Papineau, and Nancrède, are important elements of the network Philippe built across Europe and North America.

Art Dealers and Ecclesiastic Buyers

As a result of the nationalization of Catholic property in 1789, many religious artworks were offered for sale on the early nineteenth-century market.‍[49] When churches were closed (often to be turned into temples of philosophy), they were emptied of their contents. The new government assembled committees for the purpose of assessing church art and deciding which works should be sent to warehouses for later resale and which were of high enough quality to be kept for the newly established national collections and museums.‍[50] Following the Concordat of 1801, an agreement which allowed for the reestablishment of the Catholic Church in France, some efforts were made to return art to individual churches.‍[51] Simultaneously, major sales took place offering religious works that had previously been stored in warehouses.‍[52] Roberta Panzanelli and Monica Preti-Hamard note that as the postrevolutionary art market expanded its audience and its reach, it also became increasingly specialized; dealers sought to maximize their profits through new strategies and by capitalizing on new, or newly invigorated, audiences.‍[53]

Caylar’s efforts to develop a business rapport with the Catholic Church by selling it paintings that had once hung in its institutions is an example of this specialization, focusing on the church, which was seeking to reestablish itself and once again adorn the walls of its buildings with art. This is not unlike the business of Giroux, another postrevolutionary art dealer. Giroux’s business from the 1820s onwards has been well-researched by scholars, but his commercial activities prior to that period are rarely explored.‍[54] A review of some early nineteenth-century newspaper advertisements for his business does, however, provide some valuable information. For example, an advertisement from the November 2, 1806, edition of Le Journal de Paris reads:

Attention all ecclesiastics, painters and for those with an interest in paintings. Painting, cleaning, and restoration studio, store and exhibits of excellent paintings from old and modern masters; complete series of main subjects for the decorations of churches, suitable to the gentlemen priests, through their variety of shapes, Coq. S.-Honoré street, no. 8, on the first floor.‍[55]

Likewise, in the July 3, 1808, edition of that same newspaper, another advertisement for Giroux’s business reads:

Painting and restoration studio linked to the chapter of Notre-Dame and to the archbishop of Paris, which wishes to continue to expand its relations with ecclesiastics and industry administrators, will present, at his studio, on the Coq. S.-Honoré street, no. 7, the prospects of the establishment. Those wishing to purchase church paintings and signs of all sizes can, with this instruction, offer their own prices.‍[56]

These advertisements confirm that Giroux’s early business as an art dealer was centered around religious works.‍[57] He differed slightly from Caylar, as he seems to have also produced and restored religious paintings while Caylar focused on resales. Furthermore, Giroux established a working relationship with the church of Notre-Dame and the archbishop of Paris, which Caylar does not seem to have done. But whatever the differences between their businesses, the work of Giroux and Caylar strongly suggests that postrevolutionary dealers were capitalizing on a renewed desire for religious art.


The rediscovery of the short letter of 1805 between the French ecclesiastic Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins and the newspaper and book publisher Joseph Nancrède provides a surprising window onto France’s postrevolutionary art market and the creation of the fonds Desjardins. The letter contains the first evidence of who Philippe purchased his paintings from. His note to Nancrède, in conjunction with the letter from 1803 identified by Lacroix, suggests that the two Desjardin brothers did not create the fonds solely on their own but also relied on collaborators to accomplish their transactions. The letter of 1805 serves as a starting point for further research, including, for example, on whether Philippe and Nancrède worked together more than once, or whether Philippe purchased other paintings from Caylar. The identification of Caylar, and the comparison of his business to Giroux’s, demonstrates that the Catholic Church and its members were active participants in the art market and target audiences for art dealers.


The Appendix is a transcription by the author of a letter from Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins to Joseph Nancrède, dated March 7, 1805 (MG24-K57, vol. 1, file 2, 73–75, fonds Joseph Nancrède, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario). Words in bold are the author’s addition. Square brackets around words followed by question marks, or around question marks alone, indicate partially legible or entirely illegible text.

Exterior of Letter

Tableaux de
L’abbé Desjardins

Monsieur Nancrede
Rue BailleuL 185

Liste de Tableaux de
L’abbé Desjardins

First Page

Mr Desjardins présente le bonjour à Mr
Nancrède & lui envoye la liste de ses tableaux
Avec l’adresse du Marchand. Lejour qui fera [commode?]
à Mr [T?]ancrède, Mr Desj. Se rendra chez lui, delà
ils se rendront avec un peintre quelconque chez le
Marchand qui sera prévenu, a fin qu’il tire les tableaux
du Magasin. Mr Desj. attend la réponse & souhaite
[?] une santé parfaite à Mr Nancrède

[?] 7 Mars 1805
Hotel de la legation Rom.a Rue [Plumet?]

Second Page

Tableaux achetés de Mr Caylar Rue de Lille n. 706
Avec leurs prix – Les Originaux garantis tels
Resurrection de J.c. Original Châles 350
St Pierre aux liens Original La [Force?] 450
J.C. retrouvé dans le temple Original Stella 450
St Nicolas Original Vignon 200
La Vierge cousant
Copie 120
Ste Famille. Ecole d’André del Sarte Copie 800
St Antoine & St François Original   250
St Thomas, Samaritaine, J.c. mort, adoration des mages
4 tableaux Semblables
Originaux   600
Vocation de St Jacques & de St Jean Originaux B. Boulogne 800
Présentation au temple Original Stella 400
Christ Orig.L Champagne 500
autre Christ Orig.L [?] 400
Ste Therese Orig.L Ménageot 120
Visitation Origl. B. Boulogne 600
Sacrifice d’Abraham Orig.L Coypel 400
Assomption Orig.L B. Boulogne 660
2 Ste famille Commission par le Curé de Boucherville 1800


The author would like to thank the journal’s editors and peer reviewers for their contributions to this article.


All translations are by the author unless otherwise noted.

[1] Only two scholarly mentions of this letter are currently known: that of Bernard Andrès and Madeleine B. Stern, both of whom wrote about Joseph Nancrède but not the Desjardins brothers. Bernard Andrès, “Joseph de Nancrède et la presse française d’Amérique au temps de la Gazette de Montréal (1780–1800),” Les Cahiers des Dix, no. 55 (2001): 175–90, https://doi.org/10.7202/1008083ar; and Madeleine B. Stern, Books and Book People in 19th-Century America (New York: Bowker, 1978): 90, 113.

[2] Jacqueline Lefebvre, L’Abbé Philippe Desjardins: Un grand ami du Canada, 1753–1833 (Québec: Société Historique du Québec, 1982), 2; and Laurier Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux des abbés Desjardins, un feuilleton épique,” in Le Fabuleux destin des tableaux des abbés Desjardins: Peintures des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles des musées et églises du Québec, ed. Guillaume Kazerouni and Daniel Drouin, exh. cat. (Rennes: Snoeck, 2017), 64.

[3] Bernard Bodinier, “Églises à vendre! Le Sort des édifices cultuels de l’Eure sous la Révolution et l’Empire,” Cahiers des Annales de Normandie, no. 35 (2009): 471.

[4] Lefebvre, L’Abbé Philippe Desjardins, 33; and Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux,” 64. Philippe arrived in 1793, and his brother Louis arrived shortly thereafter in 1794.

[5] Lefebvre, L’Abbé Philippe Desjardins, 33; and Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux,” 64.

[6] Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux,” 65.

[7] For more on why Québec lacked paintings for its religious institutions see Laurier Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence” (PhD diss., Université Laval, 1998), 35–38, http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/28478.

[8] Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence,” 89–90.

[9] Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux,” 67–68.

[10] While there are multiple letters that focus on, or briefly mention, the paintings Philippe was sending to Canada, the information is often vague, or focused on the shipments rather than providing details about the purchases. I am grateful for the work of previous scholars who have read and transcribed Philippe’s personal correspondence and made it available to others through their publications. Due to the difficulty of accessing the original documents during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was unable to obtain my own copies of the originals. The transcriptions were essential to my work.

[11] “un artiste quelconque.” [Philippe-Jean-Louis] Desjardins to [Joseph] Nancrède, March 7, 1805, MG25-K 56, vol. 1, file 2, 73, fonds Joseph Nancrède, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

[12] “chez le Marchand qui sera prévenu, a fin qu’il tire les tableaux du Magasin.” [Philippe-Jean-Louis] Desjardins to [Joseph] Nancrède, March 7, 1805, 73.

[13] “Tableaux achetés de Mr. Caylar rue de Lille no. 706.” [Philippe-Jean-Louis] Desjardins to [Joseph] Nancrède, March 7, 1805, 75.

[14] Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence,” 115.

[15] The penmanship in the list of 1805 is unclear in certain instances. In my transcription of the letter (see Appendix) I have enclosed those instances in square brackets and transcribed inside the brackets what I believe is written.

[16] “2 Ste. Famille commission par le Curé de Boucherville.” [Philippe-Jean-Louis] Desjardins to [Joseph] Nancrède, March 7, 1805, 75.

[17] Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux,” 65; and Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence,” 146.

[18] Andrès, “Joseph de Nancrède,” 175–76; and Stern, Books and Book People, 48.

[19] Stern, Books and Book People, 48; and Andrès, “Joseph de Nancrède,” 176.

[20] Andrès, “Joseph de Nancrède,” 176–77, 183; and Stern, Books and Book People, 59.

[21] Stern, Books and Book People, 90.

[22] Fernand Ouellet, “Papineau, Louis-Joseph,” in Dictionnaire biographique du Canada, vol. 10 (Québec City: Université Laval; Toronto: University of Toronto, 2003), http://www.biographi.ca/.

[23] Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence,” 84, 118.

[24] Amédée Papineau, Journal d’un fils de la liberté, 1838–1855, ed. Georges Aubin (Sillery: Les Éditions du Septentrion, 1998), 199–201.

[25] Louis-Joseph Papineau, 10 Years Old, Library and Archives Canada, http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.

[26] Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence,” 322, 605.

[27] Stern, Books and Book People, 49; and Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence,” 46. While we know with which troop Nancrède deployed, there is some uncertainty about which troop was Dulongpré’s.

[28] Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence,” 199, 322.

[29] Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence,” 46, 327.

[30] Giles Gallichan, “La Bibliothèque personnelle de Joseph-Octave Plessis,” Les Cahiers des Dix, no. 68 (2014): 47–49, https://doi.org/10.7202/1029290ar.

[31] Gallichan, “La Bibliothèque personnelle,” 47–48.

[32] Gallichan, “La Bibliothèque personnelle,” 60.

[33] Andrès, “Joseph de Nancrède,” 188–89.

[34] This correspondence is referenced throughout Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence.”

[35] In his recent publication on the postrevolutionary market, Tom Stammers wrote the following: “how one negotiated this metropolitan environment became a hallmark of one’s talent for spotting quality.” Tom Stammers, The Purchase of the Past, Collecting Culture in Post-Revolutionary Paris c. 1790–1890 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020), 62. Stammers’s comment prompted my theory that Nancrède, a man who had experience importing material from Europe, may have helped Desjardins navigate the art market.

[36] “pour en tirer un parti prompt qui fasse rentrer mes fonds, ou plutôt ceux de mes amis, je vais les addresser à un Marchand, qui les vendra à Son compte. Ce qui me retient, c’est qu’il pourrait les porter haut, & bénéficier dessus, au detriment des Églises, à qui je voudrais que le profit en revint.” Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins to Antoine-Bernardin Robert, May 8 and June 25, 1803, as transcribed in Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence,” 970–71. A brief note on prices: in an article of 2005, Burton B. Fredericksen reminds readers that “the majority of items sold at public sale were bought by dealers for resale, and the prices are, therefore, almost invariably lower than those fetched when resold privately.” Thus, the prices Desjardins paid for his works are not necessarily an accurate reflection of the market value of the works. See Burton B. Fredericksen, “Survey of the French Art Market between 1789 and 1820,” in Collections et marché de l’art en France, 1789–1848, ed. Monica Preti-Hamard and Philippe Sénéchal (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2005), 20.

[37] Caylar’s name has been spelled in a myriad of ways, including but not limited to: Cailard, Caillar, and Caylard.

[38] “Decrets Imperiaux: 3° Le Sieur A. P. Garros . . . ,” La Gazette nationale ou Le Moniteur universel, February 11, 1806, 168, RetroNews [login required].

[39] “M. Cailar, marchand de Tableaux à Paris, rue de Lille, no. 23, près celle de Beaune, a l’hon[n]eur de prévenir MM. du Clergé, qu’il a acheté la presque totalité des tableaux provenant des églises & maisons religieuses de Paris & lieux environnans, & principalement ceux qui ornoient la Cathédrale; ainsi que la plus grande partie de ceux des églises de Bruxelle, Malines, Anvers & Gand. Tous ces Tableaux sont originaux, & de bons maîtres français, flamands & autres. La plupart sont gravés, & c’est d’après les gravures de ces Tableaux, que des marchands, qui se disent peintres, font faire journellement de mauvaises copies, qu’ils annoncent pompeusement dans tous les journaux & qu’ils mettent à un prix beaucoup plus élevé que celui auquel M. Cailar laisseroit les Tableaux originaux qu’il annonce. M. Cailard possède encore une nombreuse collection de tableaux, pour décorer les Galeries & les Appartemens des plus riches particuliers.” “Annonces & avis divers: M. Cailar [. . .],” Le Journal de Paris, November 9, 1808, 2261, RetroNews [login required]. An announcement in the July 19, 1817, issue of La Quotidienne lists Caylar at another address: rue Baillif, no. 13.

[40] “arracher à la destruction.” Burton B. Fredericksen and Benjamin Peronnet, eds., Répertoires des tableaux vendus en France au XIXe siècle, vol. 1, 1801–1810 (Los Angeles: Provenance Index of the Getty Information Institute, 1998), xii–xiii. Transcribed by Fredericksen and Peronnet, translated by the author.

[41] Fredericksen and Peronnet, Répertoires des tableaux, xiii. In an article from 2005, Fredericksen notes that our understanding of the French art market is skewed toward auctions, as there are few records of the private sales that occurred. This may explain the lack of information on Caylar, or his private sale to Desjardins. See Fredericksen, “Survey of the French Art Market between 1789 and 1820,” 19.

[42] Antoine Schnapper and Daniel Ternois, “Une vente de tableaux provenant des églises parisiennes en 1810,” Bulletin de la société de l’histoire de l’art français (1976): 119.

[43] Fredericksen and Peronnet, Répertoires des tableaux, 81–82.

[44] Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence,” 97.

[45] Fredericksen and Peronnet, Répertoires des tableaux, 81–82; and Schnapper and Ternois, “Une vente de tableaux,” 119.

[46] Fredericksen and Peronnet, Répertoires des tableaux, xxiii, 81; and Schnapper and Ternois, “Une vente de tableaux,” 119. Both sets of authors cite Alfred de Champeaux, L’Art décoratif dans le vieux Paris (Paris: Librairie Générale de l’Architecture et des Arts Industriels, 1898).

[47] Fredericksen and Peronnet, Répertoires des tableaux, xxiii, 81; and Schnapper and Ternois, “Une vente de tableaux,” 119.

[48] Lacroix, “Le Fonds de tableaux Desjardins: Nature et influence,” 98.

[49] Some of the religious works present on the market may have been the result of other events. For example, in 2017, Guillaume Kazerouni posited that members of the church had begun selling religious paintings well before the Revolution, aware of the monetary value of the works. Guillaume Kazerouni, “La Peinture religieuse du XVIIIe siècle au regard de l’héritage du Grand Siècle,” in Le Baroque des Lumières: Chef d’oeuvres des églises parisiennes au XVIIIe siècle, ed. Christine Gouzi and Christophe Leribault, exh. cat (Paris: Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, 2017), 24. In 2009, Bernard Bodinier explained that churches and other religious buildings were being abandoned and closed prior to the Revolution, due, for example, to a decline in recruitment of members of the religious orders and the influx of new ideas. Bodinier, “Églises à vendre!,” 470.

[50] Guillaume Kazerouni, “Dispersions et nouvelles affectations: Les Tableaux des églises de Paris au lendemain de la Révolution,” in Le Fabuleux destin des tableaux des abbés Desjardins, 31.

[51] Kazerouni, “Dispersions et nouvelles affectations,” 34.

[52] Kazerouni, “Dispersions et nouvelles affectations,” 34.

[53] Roberta Panzanelli and Monica Preti-Hamard, introduction to La Circulation des oeuvres d’art, 1789–1848, ed. Roberta Panzanelli and Monica Preti-Hamard (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2007), 21.

[54] See Linda Whiteley, “Art et commerce d’art en France avant l’époque impressioniste,” Romantisme, no. 40 (1983): 65–76, https://doi.org/10.3406/roman.1983.4633; Steven Adams, “‘Noising things abroad’: Art, Commodity, and Commerce in Post-Revolutionary Paris,” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 12, no. 2 (Autumn 2013), https://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/; and Noémie Étienne, La Restauration des peintures à Paris (1750–1815): Pratiques et discours sur la matérialité des oeuvres d’art (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2012).

[55] “Avis à MM. les Ecclésiastiques, Peintres & Amateurs de Tableaux. Atelier de peinture, nètoyage & restauration, magasin & expositions de très-beaux tableaux de maîtres anciens & modernes; suites complète des principaux sujets consacrés a la decoration des églises, convenables à MM. les Curés, par la variété de leur forme, rue du Coq. S.-Honoré, no. 8, au premier [. . .].” “Feuilleton du Journal de Paris: Avis à MM. les Ecclésiastiques [. . .],” Le Journal de Paris, November 2, 1806, 1, RetroNews [login required].

[56] “L’atelier de peinture & restauration attaché au Chapitre de Notre-Dame & à l’archevêché de Paris, désirant étandre de plus en plus ses relations avec les écclésiastiques & administrateurs de fabriques des départements, délivera à son Salon d’expositions, rue du Coq. S.-Honoré, no. 7, les prospectus de l’Etablissement. Les Personnes qui désireront se procurer des Tableaux d’Eglises & Bannières de toutes grandeurs, pourront, avec cette instruction, en établir elles-mêmes la valeur.” “Feuilleton du Journal de Paris; Annonces et avis divers: L’Atelier de peinture & restauration [. . .],” Le Journal de Paris, July 3, 1808, RetroNews [login required].

[57] Linda Whiteley said the same about Giroux’s early business as an art dealer. Whiteley, “Art et commerce d’art en France avant l’époque impressioniste,” 66.