Thursday - 31 July 2014

A peace mission in watercolour

07 August 2002Written by ATG Reporter

FRANCE: Millon & Associés (17.5/ 13.5% buyer’s premium) June 26 sale included two watercolours taken from an album of drawings by Eugene Delacroix, which the artist presented to Count Charles de Mornay on their return from Morocco in 1832.

De Mornay was sent as a diplomatic envoy to assure the Sultan of Morocco of good neighbourly relations following France’s colonisation of Algeria in 1830.

Delacroix was asked to illustrate this peace mission and his short stay in Morocco, from January to June 1832, proved particularly important for the development of his work, in how he perceived and analysed light and colour.

Pictured here is Coulouglis et un Arabe Assis devant la Porte de Leur Maison, watercolour and gouache 361/4 x 61/4in (16 x 16cm), raised €270,000 (£174,000) and his watercolour/graphite depiction of Le Caïd Ben Abou – Chef Militaire, 61/4in x 81/4in (16 x 21cm), took €250,000 (£161,000).

Pick of Gros-Delettrez’s (15% buyer’s premium) Orientalists on June 24 was Fabius Brest, whose Caïques devant la Tour de Léandre, portraying boats on the Bosphorus, 20 x 31in (52 x 80cm), collected €132,000 (£85,000).

A 1927 Dufy sketch of the seaside resort of Villerville, 2ft 2in x 2ft 8in (65 x 82cm), surfed to €200,000 (£129,000) at Eric Couturier (15/10% buyer’s premium) on June 24. The same price greeted a colourful garden of Jardin en Fleurs, 23 x 18in (59 x 46cm), by American Impressionist Robert William Vonnoh (1858-1933), who taught in Boston and worked at Grez-sur-Loing with Roderick O’Conor. The price, ten times estimate, was perhaps less surprising than the estimate itself.

Vuillard’s workaday 1937 interior portrait of Madame Adam, 2ft 11in x 2ft 8in (89 x 81cm) went over double-estimate to €225,000 (£145,000) at Boisgirard (% buyer’s premium) on June 26 despite the poor condition of its paintwork.

An eye-battering 54 psychedelic works by Charles Lapicque were on offer at Laurin-Guilloux-Buffetaud (15/10% buyer’s premium) on June 14. Thirty-three of them sold, led by his 1952 La Bouée à Virer (buoy), 4ft 7in x 2ft 11in (1.39m x 89cm), at a top-estimate €80,000 (£51,600).

Basquiat’s 1984 LF, acrylic 7ft 2in x 5ft 8in (2.19 x 1.73m), scored €219,000 (£141,000) at Digard (15/12% buyer’s premium) on June 18, when Raoul Dufy’s early, Fauve-period riverscape, Loir à Durtal 13 x 16in (33 x 41cm), sold well on €122,500 (£79,000).

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