Two Ewers by Soldani Benzi Resurface at the Hôtel Drouot

1. Massimiliano Soldani Benzi (1656-1740)
Projects for ewers,c.1695
Terracotta - 73 x 42 cm
Hôtel Drouot auction of 16/4/14
Photo : Blanchet et Associés

11/4/14 - Art market - Paris - Yesterday, Wednesday 16 April, two terracotta vases were up for auction at the Hôtel Drouot (ill. 1), richly sculpted, presented as German work, circa 1800. These were indeed "projects for ewers" as stated in the catalogue. However, it was slightly off by 100 years and the country as these are in fact two works by Massimiliano Soldani Benzi, the Florentine sculptor of the Medici family, an artist whose bronzes are among the most famous in the world, born in 1656 and who died in 1740. The auction estimate was just as imaginative, between 3,000/5,000€, for the winning bid rose to 1,033,200€ (including charges) !
Obviously, several connoisseurs had already singled out the objects in question. Other replicas are known, including two in bronze at the Victoria & Albert Museum, for which the models correspond (an ewer with Galatea on one side and on the other a Nereide ; another ewer with Neptune and a Triton - ill. 2). The Los Angeles County Museum of Art also owns a gilt terracotta version (ill. 3) of the first (known as the Galatea Vase).

2. Massimiliano Soldani Benzi (1656-1740)
Ewer, c. 1695
Bronze - 79.7 x 39.4 x 29.2 cm
London, Victoria & Albert Museum
Photo : Victoria & Albert Museum

3. Massimiliano Soldani Benzi (1656-1740)
Ewer (Galatea Vase), vers 1695
Terre cuite dorée - 71,1 x 35.6 x 30.5 cm
Los Angeles, County Museum of Art
Photo : LACMA

These works acquired at the Hôtel Drouot will have to obtain a passport if they are to be exported. We hope that it will be temporarily refused and that the Louvre will attempt to acquired them. Unless we are mistaken, the museum does not hold anything of this type.

Version française

Didier Rykner, jeudi 17 avril 2014


According to Le Quotidien de l’Art published just after our posting, the two works were acquired by an Italian. Again, unless we are mistaken, this does not exempt them from applying for an export authorization.

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