FIVE previously unknown photographic prints by Edgar Degas totalled €380,000 (£253,335) at Beaussant-Lefèvre (20.93/11.96% buyer’s premium) on July 2. All featured group portraits taken at the Paris home of Degas’s friend, the painter Henri Lerolle (1848-1929), and were consigned by Lerolle’s descendants.
Helped by his close friend, the artist Guillaume Tasset, who
provided him with photographic equipment, Degas's passion for
photography blossomed during the mid 1890s. These prints were all
dated as 1895/96 and revealed Degas' interest in contrast, and his
preference for interiors with atmospheric lighting, photographed at
Each large silver print was of similar size, approximately 16 x 11
1/2in (39 x 29cm), and all were developed by Guillaume Tasset or
his daughter Delphine.
An Autoportrait avec les Deux Filles d'Henri Lerolle, with
Lerolle's daughters (Christine and Yvonne) leaning on a small
bronze casting of Rodin's Ugolino, shown right, sold to a foreign
buyer on the phone for a huge €170,000 (£113,335) against an
estimate of €25,000-30,000. This was the only one of the five
photographs to have been seen in public - a different print was
shown in the Edgar Degas Photographer exhibition held in New York,
Los Angeles and Paris in 1998-99.
A Portrait des Filles d'Henri Lerolle Christine et Yvonne,
featuring the two daughters alone, also sold to a foreign phone
bidder, for €43,000 (£28,665).
Both these prints were vertical in format. The others were
horizontal, led by a Portrait au Miroir d'Henri Lerolle et de ses
Deux Filles, with the artful use of a mirror, that was pre-empted
by the Musée d'Orsay for €88,000 (£58,665).
Paris dealer Jean-Claude Vrain secured a Portrait de Madeleine
Lerolle et de ses Deux Filles (the two girls with their mother) for
€73,000 (£48,665). The fifth print showing the parents, Portrait
d'Henri Lerolle et de sa Femme, was in poor condition and sold over
the phone for €6500 (£4335).
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