Thursday - 27 November 2014

Paris auction shows demand for classic art

15 April 2013Written by Anne Crane

The latest mixed-owner sale of Old Masters, furniture and objets d’art in Paris held at Drouot by Beaussant Lefèvre saw some estimate-crushing prices and two pre-emptions by the Louvre.

The sale was full of pieces with attractive provenances and topping the list was this 7in (18cm) high marble bust of Christ attributed to 15th century Italy and perhaps Siennese, which was guided at €8000-10,000 but ended up selling to a separate buyer for €275,000 (£250,000) plus 20% buyer's premium.

The bust was one of several lots in the sale on April 5 that had come from the collection of Paul Corbin (1862-1948).

Another lot from the same source was a 3¼ x 5in (8.5 x 13cm) Parisian carved ivory plaque from the side of a casket dated to the early 14th century and delicately carved in high relief with a secular scene featuring the Arthurian knight Gawain from the story of the Holy Grail by Chrétien de Troyes.

The Louvre, who have already recently acquired two medieval ivory statuettes from the Corbin collection, pre-empted the plaque at €37,000 (£33,635).

Boucher Purchase

The Louvre's other pre-empted purchase was a 2ft x 16in (61 x 40cm) oil on canvas by François Boucher signed and dated 1733, titled Le repas de chasse, which was one of several lots in the auction from the collection of Humbert de Wendel, which the museum secured just below the estimate at €100,000 (£90,910).

The auction also included an unusual 19th century wooden frame measuring 2ft 1in x 23in (65 x 58cm) with a mirror centre bordered by a series of 22 parchment miniatures from a late 14th century illuminated bible, 20 of them by the Parisian artist Perrin Remiet.

Estimated at €10,000-15,000, this was eventually knocked down for €145,000 (£131,820).

£1 = €1.1

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