Drawing Auctions in Paris

1. Baldassare Franceschini called Il Volterrano
Musical Angel
Red Chalk - 33.5 x 27 cm
Artcurial Auction on 28/3/12
Photo : Artcurial

27/3/12 - Art market - Paris - We had already mentioned the Artcurial auction which is taking place on 28 March because of the works from the Jacques Thuillier collection (see news item of 13/1/12). At the time we did not point out two small paintings by Sébastien Bourdon since Artcurial was in talks with the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, a transaction which was finally dropped. These two works will therefore be for sale.
Drawings with various provenances will be offered here, including a very beautiful red chalk by Volterrano (ill. 1), a study of an angel playing a musical instrument for a lunette in the chapel of San Ansano at the church of the Santissima Annunziata in Florence for which a very accomplished project of the ensemble resides at the Musée Bonnat. We should also point out a series of academic male nudes, mostly anonymous or by Jean-Bernard Restout, Jean Jouvenet and Gérard Audran.
From the 19th century, there is of note an album of early drawings by Eugène Delacroix, unpublished till now, which includes sixteen studies some of which are for canvases painted between 1817 and 1825, such as The Virgin of the Sacred Heart in the Ajaccio cathedral or The Massacre at Chios.

2. Claude Gellée called Claude Lorrain
Landscape with a Farm, Mountains in the Background (recto)
Pen and Brown Ink, Brown Wash - 23.5 x 31.4 cm
Christie’s Auction on 29/3/12
Photo : Christie’s

2bis. Claude Gellée called Claude Lorrain
Study for the Same Composition (verso)
Pen and Brown Ink, Brown Wash - 23.5 x 31.4 cm
Christie’s Auction on 29/3/12
Photo : Christie’s

3. Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804)
The Vocation of the Sons of Zebedee (Matthew 4:21-22)
Black chalk ,Pen and Black Ink,
Brown Wash, Grey, Brown-Orange and Blue
47.8 x 36.6 cm
Christie’s Auction on 29/3/12
Photo : Christie’s

The auction at Christie’s, on 29 March 2012, is particularly well endowed. Two drawings by Claude Lorrain, of very high quality, dominate the offerings here (ill. 2 and 2bis) [1], alongside two large sheets by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo for his famous Illustrated Bible (ill. 3).
By François Boucher, there is a Study of a Young Woman Sleeping, a bit poor in quality, and we therefore much prefer the vigorous sketch for Bust of Apollo, Turning Right, preparatory for Apollo Revealing his Divinity to the Shepherdess Issé from the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tours, and a Academy of Nude Male Seated, Representing Mars, a study for Venus and Mars at the Wallace Collection.
Next to works with relatively high estimates, a collector with a limited budget may also acquire some fine drawings at reasonable prices. This is the case, among many others, for a composition in black chalk of excellent quality, given to François Verdier but which we find closer to an artist like Louis Chéron [2] (ill. 4), estimated at 1,500/2,000€.

4. François Verdier (1651-1730)
[or Louis Chéron (1660-1725) ?]
Pierids Challenging the Muses
Black Chalk, Pen and Black Ink, Grey Wash,
White Heightening - 20.6 x 30 cm
Christie’s Auction on 29/3/12
Photo : Christie’s

5. Guillaume Courtois (1628-1679)
Apollo’s Chariot
Black Pencil, Stump, Pen and Brown Ink
on Grey Paper - 36.5 x 23.5 cm
Piasa Auction on 28/3/12
Photo : Piasa

6. Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766)
Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Le Gobien,
Lord of Saint-Jouan, Holding a Rifle,
Sat, with Two Dogs

Black Pencil with white chalk heightening
on Beige Paper - 41 x 26.3 cm
Piasa Auction on 28/3/12
Photo : Piasa

At Piasa’s, Hôtel Drouot, an art lover of (relatively) little means, may also find some beautiful sheets for a fair amount if bidding does not go above the stated estimates. Here, specialists might even be likely to find attributions for some of the anonymous drawings among the 300 lots being offered.
An Apollo’s Chariot (ill. 5), by Guillaume Courtois, a painter of French origin and student of Pietro da Cortona who also collaborated with Bernini in Rome, is estimated at only 2,000/3,000€ while a superb portrait of a seated hunter, in black pencil with chalk highlights, by Jean-Marc Nattier (ill. 6), is estimated at 5,000/6,000€.
We do not enjoy discussing the price of an art work especially when it sets a record as this does not have anything to do with art history. However, while collecting remains a pursuit for those with certain means, it is still possible, for persons with real knowledge, to find important works at affordable prices, either because the subject or the painter is not fashionable at the moment, or if the correct attribution was not made.

Visitor information :

Artcurial Auction, Old Master and 19th Century Drawings, notably the Collection of Jacques Thuillier, on wednesday 28 march 2012 at 6pm, viewing information from 24 to 27 march from 11am to 7pm, on 28 march from 11am to 1pm, Hôtel Marcel Dassault, 7, Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées, 75008 Paris.

Christie’s Auction, Old Master and 19th Century Drawings, on thursday 29 march 2012 at 2.30pm, viewing information on 24 then from 26 to 28 march from 10am to 6pm, 9, avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris.

Piasa Auction, Old Master and Modern Drawings, on wednesday 28 march 2012 at 2.30pm, viewing information on 27 march from 11am to 6pm and on 28 march from 11am to 12am, at l’Hôtel Drouot, room 2, 9, rue Drouot, 75009 Paris.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mercredi 28 mars 2012


[1] The back, unfortunately, cannot be seen at the exhibition.

[2] This attribution seems more suitable as was confirmed to us by several connoisseurs.

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