Several art auctions in Paris

1. Niccolò dell’Abate (1509 or 1512-1571 ?)
Presumed Portrait of Ercole II d’Este
Oil on canvas - 55.7 x 44.2 cm
Christie’s Paris, 23/6/10
Photo : Christie’s Paris

22/06/10 – Art market – Paris – Traditionally, many old master paintings and drawings, as well as 19th century, art sales take place in Paris during the fourth week in June, allowing museums at times to preempt certain lots.

At the Christie’s auction of 23 June, these establishments might (or in any case, should) be interested in several items, foremost of which is the Presumed Portrait of Ercole II d’Este (ill. 1), the only known one to have been painted by Nicolo dell’Abate during his French period. This superb canvas, which has always been held on French soil, is without a doubt a heritage piece. This sale will offer about fifteen paintings and drawings from the Veil-Picard collection, a famous art lover of the first half of the 20th century [1]. Among this ensemble, the works which stand out, more so than the Watteau drawing, is a beautiful red and black chalk sheet by Jacques-André Portail, Two Black Pages, a rare Chardin study for The Blessing and, above all, a large study by Mariano Salvado Maella for a ceiling at the Palacio de Oriente in Madrid (ill. 2). Works by this artist seldom come up for auction (especially outside of Spain) and he is not represented at the Louvre (except for a small pochade which is a study for a portrait of Charles III of Spain, on deposit at the Musée d’Agen). As a reminder, in 2000 the Louvre acquired a studyby Francesco Bayeu which was also a preparation for the Palacio de Oriente in Madrid.

2. Mariano Salvador Maella (1739-1819)
Apotheosis of Hadrian, project fot
a ceiling at the Royal Palace in Madrid

Oil on canvas - 66 x 84 cm
Christie’s Paris, 23/6/10
Photo : Christie’s Paris

3. Jean-David d’Angers (1788-1856)
Bust of Marquis de La Fayette
Marble - 58.5 x 35 x 29 cm
Christie’s Paris, 23/6/10
Photo : Christie’s Paris

There are also three drawn portraits by Ingres at this auction, with the same provenance, but too whitened by a poor restoration, a fate which often befalls this artist’s drawings.
The last heritage piece is a bust of La Fayette sculpted by David d’Angers (ill. 3), a gift from the artist to his model [2] and of which another version was given to the President of the United States who had it placed in a hall on Capitol Hill.

4. Henri Mauperché (1602-1686 ?)
Landscape with a Temple of Vesta near a Cascade
Oil on panel - 111 x 168 cm
Sotheby’s Paris, 22/6/10
Photo : Sotheby’s Paris

5. Gaspare Traversi (1722/24-1770 ?)
Gambling Fight
Oil on canvas - 101 x 128 cm
Sotheby’s Paris, 22/6/10
Photo : Sotheby’s Paris

At Sotheyby’s, the sale on 22 June will also be offering high-quality paintings which will be sure to attract the attention of French museums even if their heritage value (historical, absent in collections, or importance to art history) seems less obvious, except perhaps for the Portrait of Fragonard painted by Marguerite Gérard which was exhibited in the recent show highlighting this artist at the Musée Cognacq-Jay (see article). There are, notably a very beautiful 17th century French landscape attributed to Henri Mauperché (ill. 4), an Allegory of Love by François Le Moyne and particularly a Gambling Fight by Gaspare Traversi (ill. 5).

6. Pierre-Jacques Volaire, called the
chevalier Volaire (1729-1802)
The Eruption of the Mount Vesuvius
Oil on canvas - 27 x 39 cm
Sotheby’s Paris, 22/6/10
Photo : Sotheby’s Paris

7. Francesco Foschi, called the
chevalier Foschi (1750-1805)
Frozen River Landscapes with People
Oil on canvas - 27.5 x 38.5 cm
Sotheby’s Paris, 22/6/10
Photo : Sotheby’s Paris

Regretfully, two small canvases brought back from the Grand Tour by the Vicomte de Saint Pardoux, respectively the work of Pierre-Jacques Volaire and Francesco Foschi (ill. 6 and 7) are to be sold separately. Although by different artists, their size and identical frames, their close dates of production and their complementary subjects (their pairing transforms the images of a volcano and a snowy landscape into allegories of fire and ice) would indicate that the person who commissioned them wished to have a pair, and this reason should have helped to keep them together.

8. France, XVIIth century
Cephalus andProcris
Oil on panel - D. 18.6 cm
Artcurial Paris, 21/6/10
Photo : Artcurial

9. France, XVIIth century
Diana and Adonis (?)
Oil on panel - D. 18.6 cm
Artcurial Paris, 21/6/10
Photo : Artcurial

10. Georges Rochegrosse (1859-1938)
Ulysses Ordering the Death of Astyanax
Oil on canvas - 100 x 80 cm
Artcurial Paris, 21/6/10
Photo : Artcurial

French auction houses also have prepared some interesting sales. At Artcurial, on 21 June at Hôtel Dassault, two small panels in tondi format of the 17th century French school (ill. 8 and 9) recall without a doubt those of the same type (but on copper) by Charles Poerson, oneof which was acquired by the Louvre in 1974 and others are held in private collections [3]. This explains the fact they are attributed to Poerson although the exact name is still to be ascertained.
As for many matching portraits, buyers will no doubt prefer the presumed portrait of Jean-Joseph Rodolphe by Louis-Gabriel Blanchet to that of his wife’s ; both come from the collection of the artist François Gérard. Finally, lovers of large historical compositions of the late 19th century will appreciate the study (or replica) of a painting at the Musée de Rouen, Ulysses Ordering the Death of Astyanax (ill. 10), by Georges Rochegrosse (which we reproduce here with its frame, probably designed by the artist himself). Although this painter is of uneven quality, his large compositions like this one are quite often extremely fine. One need not always spend a great deal to obtain a masterpiece. At this same Artcurial auction, there is a small but exceptional painting by Alfred Stevens (ill. 11), very poetic, representing the Effect of the Moon on a Calm Sea, estimated at only 4 to 6,000 €.

11. Alfred Stevens (1823-1906)
Effect of the Moon on a Calm Sea, 1885
Oil on panel - 35 x 21 cm
Artcurial Paris, 21/6/10
Photo : Artcurial

At Tajan’s, Hôtel Drouot, potential bidders will be sure to notice the rediscovery of a painting by Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre (ill. 12), still listed as missing in the recent and excellent catalogue by Nicolas Lesur and Olivier Aaron (which we will discuss shortly in an article). However, the piece we would like to see added to a French museum is a large canvas by Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne (ill. 13), displayed at the exhibition A l’école de Philippe de Champaigne in Evreux in 2007 (see article). We also point out a superb portrait by Alexandre Hesse, of Eugène Guyot, sous-préfet of Vendôme.

12. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre (1714-1789)
Episode of the Massacre of the Innocents, 1763
Oil on canvas - 95 x 130 cm
Tajan Paris, 21/6/10
Photo : Tajan

13. Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne (1631-1681)
The Transfer of the Relics of Saint Arnould
Oil on canvas - 214 x 277 cm
Vente Tajan Paris, 21/6/10
Photo : Tajan

14. Jean-Victor Bertin (17667-1842)
River Crossing a Landscape
Oil on canvas - 32.5 x 41.5 cm
Artcurial Paris, 21/6/10
Photo : Artcurial

In concluding, we point out that, in association with the exhibition in Lyon on French landscapes of the first half of the 19th century (see article in French), art lovers will have much to see this week in Paris notably at Christie’s which is presenting an ensemble of views of Italy and southern France (Louis Gauffier, Jules Coignet, Emile Loubon, Alexandre Desgoffe, Simon Denis, André Giroux…) and Sotheby’s with a View of Lake Maggiore by Achille-Etna Michallon and Artcurial with a beautiful River Crossing a Landscape (ill. 4).

Visitor information [4] :

Christie’s, 9 avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris, auction on 23 June 2010 at 15. Exhibition : Monday 21 June from 10 to 18 and Tuesday 22 June from 10 to 10. Online catalogue.
Sotheby’s, 76 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, 75008 Paris, auction on 22 June 2010 at 14:30. Exhibition : Monday 21 June from 10 to 18. Online catalogue.
Artcurial, 7 rond-point des Champs-Elysées, auction of 21 June at 19. Exhibition : Monday 21 June from 11 to 16. Online catalogue.
Tajan, Hôtel Drouot, rooms 5-6, auction of 21 June 2010 at 14:30. Exhibition : Monday 21 June from 11 to 12:30.

Didier Rykner, mardi 22 juin 2010


[1] Renaud in the Armide Forest by Fragonard, which joined the Louvre through “acceptance in lieu”, came from this collection and its mate is still there (see news item, in French, of 1/10/04).

[2] The plaster cast is at the Musée d’Angers.

[3] These are probably designs for watch covers.

[4] We provide only the exhibition dates after the appearance of this article.

imprimer Print this article

Previous article in News Items : Domenichino’s Saint John Evangelist on loan to the National Gallery in London

Next article in News Items : Fundraising : A Gauguin for Lyon