Several drawing auctions in Paris

1. Théodore Géricault (1791-1824)
Four Studies of a Castway Wielding an Axe
Pencil and brown ink - 16 x 14 cm
Sale Artcurial, 30 march 2011
Photo : Artcurial

30/3/11 – Art market – Paris – Among the different auctions of drawings in Paris over a two-week period, Artcurial’s definitely stood out for the extensive number of important sheets on offer. Two collections were sold, one of old masters assembled by a collector who wishes to remain anonymous, the other belonging to the family of Pierre-Oliver Dubaut, a painter who died in 1968 and who was particularly interested in the 19th century, notably Géricault represented by several works. Of these and of special note, there was Four Studies of a Castaway Wielding an Axe (ill. 1). With the same provenance, there were also several drawings by Delacroix, one by Ingres, a Presumed Portrait of the Marquise de Beaumont, sold in its original “insolé “ [exposed]condition which we hope the buyer will not make the mistake of lightening too much, as well as a beautiful wash by Victor Hugo representing a Fantastic Château.

The other collection contained some remarkable 16th century works, including a Sibyl by Federico Zuccaro, preparatory for a fresco in the oratory of Santa Lucia del Gonfalone in Rome, a Christ Giving a Blessing by Santi di Tito in black chalk, a Head of a Woman in Profile by Bartolomeo Passarotti, a double-sided study by Francesco Maffei and, most importantly, an imposing masterpiece by Francesco Vanni (ill. 2) which belonged to John Pope Hennessy. Of note from the 17th century there were two large drawings by Giacinto Calandrucci and from the 18th, a Head of a Man in Profile Wearing a Hat by Piazzetta (ill. 3).

2. Francesco Vanni (1563-1610)
The Protecting Virgin of Sienna with
saints, angels

Pencil, brown ink - 36.4 x 33.8 cm
Sale Artcurial, 30 march 2011
Photo : Artcurial

3. Giambattista Piazzetta (1682-1754)
Head of a Man in Profile Wearing a Hat
Black pen and white chalk - 37.9 x 27.8 cm
Sale Artcurial, 30 mach 2011
Photo : Artcurial

We should point out that most of the sheets in this ensemble are carefully mounted and are presented in old frames.

4. Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678)
Woman Standing Seen from the Back
Black chalk, red chalk, white chalk - 45 x 26 cm
Sale Christie’s Paris, 1st april 2011
Photo : Christie’s

5. François Boucher (1703-1770) et atelier
Woman in a Garden Turned on the Right
Black pen, red chalk, white chalk - 52.3 x 39.8 cm
Sale Christie’s Paris, 1st april 2011
Photo : Christie’s

Although we were able to visit the Artcurial exhibition, our comments on the other auctions are based on the catalogues.
At Christie’s, on 1st April, there was an Allegory of Poetry in pastel by Rosalba Carriera, an unpublished Woman Standing Seen from the Back by Jacob Jordaens (ill. 4) as well as a drawing by Boucher (ill. 5), which is very beautiful despite a workshop contribution. A Portrait of a Man by Ingres seems to have undergone the treatment we mentioned above and appears to be too light after a restoration [1].

6. Guillaume Courtois (1628-1679)
Apollo’s Chariot
Black pen - 36.5 x 23.5 cm
Sale Piasa, 31 march 2011
Photo : Piasa

7. Théodore Géricault (1791-1824)
Study for the Medusa’s Raft
Plume, encre brune, lavis brun - 20 x 27 cm
Sale Piasa, 31 march 2011
Photo : Piasa

At Piasa, on 31st March, amateurs of Roman Baroque drawings enjoyed Apollo’s Chariot, a beautiful sheet by Guillaume Courtois (ill. 6). Also of note are Charity Lying on the Steps of a Temple by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, a portrait in profile of a revolutionary by David and also a watercolour by Alexandre Gabriel Decamps, Study for a “Tiger and Elephant at a Fountain”. Géricault collectors were afforded the chance to buy a study for Medusa’s Raft (ill. 7).

8. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre (1713-1789)
Descent from the Cross
Sanguine - 35,9 x 25,2 cm
Sale Thierry de Maigret 30 march 2011
Photo : SVV Thierry de Maigret

9. Louis-Rolland Trinquesse (c. 1746-c. 1800)
Portrait of a Young Woman Standing with a Headdress
Red chalk - 35.5 x 22.5 cm
Sale Thierry de Maigret 30 march 2011
Photo : SVV Thierry de Maigret

We have not taken into consideration the estimates, as the purpose is to note the most interesting works, obviously a very subjective opinion (and of limited scope as we cannot mention them all). At the Thierry de Magret auction, however, readers will observe the very low estimates. Some drawings were expected to climb higher, for instance, a study which seems to be quite beautiful by Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre for a Descent from the Cross (ill. 8) from the cathedral of Saint Louis in Versailles, a Rape of the Sabine Women by Philippe-Auguste Hennequin and a Portrait of a Young Woman Standing with a Headdress by Louis-Rolland Trinquesse (ill. 9).

10. Jean-Baptiste Deshays (1729-1765)
A Woman with a Hood and Fan
Three pen - 24 x 18.9 cm
Aguttes, sale of the 30 march 2011
Photo : Aguttes

11. Joseph-Charles Marin (1759-1834)
Admiral of Tourville
Terracotta - H. 47 cm
Aguttes, sale of the 29 march 2011
Photo : Aguttes

Finally, on 29 and 30 March, Aguttes auctioned off the Thierry and Christine de Chirée collection. This sale (we saw the exhibition) included no less than 588 lots of which there were a great many drawings, but not only. Even without mentioning grand decorative works, there were sure to be many excellent finds in all domains. The drawings were dominated (at least in number) by an ensemble of about fifty sheets by Constantin d’Aix, but we will point out instead a fine three crayon piece : A Woman with a Hood and Fan by Jean-Baptiste Deshays (ill. 10) as well as a Portrait of a Man Snuffing Tobacco, lightly sketched in black chalk by Nicolas de Largillière.
Leaving aside the field of drawings, we would like to mention, also in this auction, two portraits by Nicolas de Largillière, several canvases from the Provençale school including a beautiful tondo by Michel Serres and, above all, an exceptional terra-cotta sculpture by Joseph-Charles Marin preparatory for the marble statue of Admiral de Tourville on the Pont de la Concorde in Paris (ill. 11) erected in 1816.

Didier Rykner, mercredi 30 mars 2011


[1] We did not see the drawing, so it is possible that the effect is caused by the reproduction.

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