The Salon du Dessin, 2011

1. Luigi Valadier (1726-1785)
Project for the altar of San Camillo de Lellis
for the church San Maria Maddalena in Roma

Pencil, brown ink, grey, brown and bleu wash - 43 x 57.1 cm
Trinity Fine Art
Photo : Trinity Fine Art

2/4/11 – Art market – Paris – More so than ever, Paris once again became the world capital of drawings for a few days. This extraordinary success, which we hope will be repeated in November with old master paintings, is due of course to the Salon which opened its doors on Wednesday, 30 March.

The previous evening, 29 March, during the official inauguration, things started out remarkably well for dealers who had never witnessed such an impressive number of sales in such little time (some galleries sold as many as 15 drawings that day !). As we were unfortunately not able to attend this opening, and some sheets left with their new owners, we may have overlooked some important works. In any case, as we do every year, we are pleased to share our personal choice of the more remarkable items, (and although we practically do not include anything from the 20th century, dealers in this specialization presented some very interesting sheets).

First off, we should note, on entering the Salon, the Trinity Fine Art gallery which stod out from the rest as it featured a solo artist, the silversmith Luigi Valadier (there is also a catalogue published for the occasion). Among all of these works, we were struck by a magnificent project for an altar held up by two angels (ill. 1).

2. Eugène Fromentin (1820-1876)
The Lion Hunt
Pencil heightened with white - 110 x 72.5 cm
Galerie Jean-François Baroni
Photo : Galerie Jean-François Baroni

3. Eugène Fromentin (1820-1876)
The Lion Hunt
Oil on canvas - 109.5 x 73 cm
Private collection
Photo : Galerie Jean-François Baroni

There were many spectacular drawings. Notably, the Jean-François Baroni gallery presented a preparatory study in full execution size (ill. 2) for a painting which today resides in a private collection (ill. 3), by Eugène Fromentin. At the De La Scala Gallery, an immense watercolour by Henri Harpignies, in fact extraordinary for this article, represents L’Ile de la Cité (ill. 4). Going back further in time, the Eric Coatalem gallery featured, a beautiful, technically stunning and historically important work : once again, this is a masterpiece by an often modest artist, Jean-Michel Moreau the Younger (ill. 5), which describes in minute detail the ceremony of Louis XVI’s coronation in the choir of the Reims cathedral with a special décor for the occasion.

4. Henri Harpignies (1819-1916)
L’Ile de la Cité
Watercolour and gouache - 60 x 100 cm
Galerie de La Scala
Photo : Galerie de La Scala

5. Jean-Michel Moreau, called the Young (1741-1814)
The Coronation of Louis XVI
ink and ink wash - 51.5 x 80.6 cm
Galerie Eric Coatalem
Photo : Galerie Eric Coatalem

We should also mention two large sheets, of very fine quality : the first, at Pandora Old Masters, is by Gustave Doré whose Young Girl Beggin (ill. 6) is almost full size ; the second at the Terradès Gallery, by Charles Meynier is a very accomplished scene, done in pen, wash and white highlights, representing a rare subject, The Philosopher Bias Buying Back the Slaves (ill. 7), preparatory for the artist’s last painting, which he left unfinished and is known today thanks only to two fragments.

6. Gustave Doré (1832-1883)
Young Girl Beggin at White Chapel
Watercolour and pencil - 127 x 64.8 cm
Pandora Old Masters
Photo : Pandora Old Masters

7. Charles Meynier (1763-1832)
The Philosopher Bias Buying Back
the Slaves
, c. 1825
Black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash,
heignethed with white gouache - 41 x 63 cm
Galerie Terradès
Photo : Galerie Terradès

But size is far from being the only criteria to determine the quality of a drawing. Rather small, the only Goya presented this year at the Salon du dessin, at the Jean-Luc Baroni gallery, is truly marvelous (ill. 8). It comes from the album which goes by the title of “F, Images d’Espagne”.
Other small formats, at Agnew’s, included a watercolour on chamois leather representing The Presentation of the Virgin (ill. 9), a veritable miniature painting, by Luca Giordano of unsurpassed quality, despite the artist’s particularly prolific production.

8. Francisco Goya (1746-1828)
Eagles Hunter
Brown ink wash - 20 x 14 cm
Galerie Jean-Luc Baroni
Photo : Galerie Jean-Luc Baroni

9. Luca Giordano (1634-1705)
The Presentation of the Virgin
Gouache on skin, maroufled on panel - 26 x 34.5 cm
Photo : Agnew’s

We would like to quote another four drawings among the many we noticed. A Virgin with Child (ill. 10), a very typical work by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, one of the easiest draughtsmen to identify at Brady’s, an episode from Dante’s Inferno by Felice Giani at Colnaghi’s (ill. 11), a rare drawing by Charles Dulac at the Talabardon & Gautier Gallery (ill. 12) and, finally, a portrait of a woman done in three crayons by François Boucher at Day & Faber’s (ill. 13).

10. Giovanni Battista Castiglione (1609-1665)
The Virgin with Child and Putti
Oil on paper - 35.2 x 25.7 m
W.M. Brady & Co
Photo : W.M. Brady & Co

11. Felice Giani (1758-1823)
Dante Faint after Hearing the Story of Francesca
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, watercolour - 27.9 x 40.6 cm
Galerie Colnaghi
Photo : Galerie Colnaghi

12. Charles-Marie Dulac (1865-1898)
Alley in Wood
Pencil, india ink rheighetend with white chalk - 31.5 x 48 cm
Galerie Talabardon & Gautier
Photo : Talabardon & Gautier

13. François Boucher (1703-1770)
Charlotta Sparre
Red chalk, back and white chalk - 34.3 x 26.5 cm
Day & Faber
Photo : Day & Faber

In concluding, and after pointing out as we do every year the stand of anonymous works which provides an opportunity for discovering beautiful drawings which are often then identified, we cannot of course overlook the only point where drawings were not for sale. We refer of course to some of the most beautiful sheets from the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen (see news item of 6/1/11). Although we were pleased to see these works of exceptional quality, some of which are in fact very well known, it would also have been a good idea to present the most beautiful anonymous pieces so that the various specialists visiting from around the world might have given their expert opinion in order to perhaps identify some of them.

Visitor information : From 30 March to 4 April 2011. Palais de la Bourse, Place de la Bourse, 75002 Paris. Opening hours : from 12am to 9 pm.

Salon du Dessin website. Didier Rykner, Friday 1st April 2011

Didier Rykner, samedi 2 avril 2011

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