An Auction of Old Master Drawings in Paris

28/11/11 - Art Market - Paris, Hôtel Drouot - On 30 November, the Hôtel Drouot, under the gavel of the Millon auction house, will be featuring the first of four or five public sales offering an important collection of old master drawings.
The seller’s name has remained anonymous (Monsieur S.). We know only that he was in the printing business and that he purchased extensively at the auction house and in certain galleries, but not necessarily at expensive prices. The ensemble of this first sale is of very high quality and reflects an art lover’s taste, someone looking for drawings without really caring about attributions. There are therefore a large number of anonymous or simply "attributed to" works, as well as many important sheets produced by small masters, notably French, and even some masterpieces by major artists. In all, price estimates appear to be very reasonable.

1. Antoine Coypel (1661-1722)
Hercules, a Figure for a Ceiling, 1708
Three chalks - 32 x 27.5 cm
Sale SVV Millon, 30/11/11
Photo : SVV Millon

2. Antoine Watteau (1684-1721)
Head of an Old Man
Red chalk - 17 x 14.5 cm
Sale SVV Millon, 30/11/11
Photo : SVV Millon

Among the last group, there is especially a large The Meal at the House of Simon the Pharisee by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, from the famous Grande Série Biblique of which certain examples resurface regularly at important auctions ; a figure of Hercules by Antoine Coypel (ill. 1) for the ceiling of the Chancellery in Orléans [1], which was reproduced a few years ago on the cover of a catalogue edited by the Prouté Gallery ; a red chalk landscape by Hubert Robert and a Head of an Old Man, in the same technique by Antoine Watteau (ill. 2).
The illustrations, of reduced format due to catalogue needs, do not always convey the size of certain large drawings. Thus, a double study of a head by Giovanni Lanfranco (cat. 28) or a design for a fan by a 17th century anonymous Italian artist (cat. 35) are rather monumental works.

3. Claude Spierre (1642-1681)
Tullia Driving his Chariot over his Father’s Body
Pen and brown ink, gray and brown wash - 19 x 26.5 cm
Sale SVV Millon, 30/11/11
Photo : SVV Millon

Of the more rare artists, potential buyers will be sure to notice among the French (assuming that the attributions are exact), a drawing by Claude Spierre, Tullia Driving his Chariot over his Father’s Body (cat. 104 ; ill. 3) as well as a landscape by Francisque Millet (cat. 103), known mainly for his paintings. We hope that the upcoming auctions will offer just as many excellent surprises as this one.

Hôtel Drouot, Wednesday 30 November 2011, room 2. Public showings : Tuesday 29 November 2011 from 11 am to 6 pm and Wednesday 30 November from 11 am to 12 noon.
Online catalog.

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 28 novembre 2011


[1] We remind our readers that this ceiling, held in storage for many years at the Banque de France, is to be reinstalled at the Hôtel de Rohan-Strasbourg, see news item of 14/7/11.

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