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Eugene Galien-Laloue's watercolour of the Staion D'Orsay which, with its pair, the Avenue Victor Hugo, made £28,000 at Canterbury Auction Galleries.

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This was evident in the Christmas sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries (15% buyer's premium including VAT) on December 7 where four fine views of Paris drew no fewer than eight telephone bidders, with two interested parties from France, as well as large number of commission bids.

The two pairs of pictures, believed to be prints by the vendor, were identified as original watercolours by the auctioneers. Because the signature was difficult to decipher, they were catalogued as by E. Julien Laloue (?) with the first pair given an estimate of £400-600 and the second £350-500.

"However, the amount of pre-sale interest raised our expectations," said auctioneer Anthony Pratt.

"We subsequently learned that the four pictures were by an artist called Eugene Galien-Laloue and made an announcement from the rostrum to that effect."

Eugene Galien-Laloue (1854-1941) was born in Paris and was a member of the Salon des Artistes Français from 1877. As well as painting the countryside around Normandy and Seine-et-Marne, he worked as an illustrator for the French Government, depicting military subjects in the fateful year of 1914.

A somewhat reclusive individual who used a number of pseudonyms, he is most renowned for his charming pictures of Paris and is often seen as a forerunner in popularising the painting of street scenes, influencing later artists such as Edouard Cortes and Antoine Blanchard.

The four works offered at Canterbury were all in gilt moulded frames and finely painted and, with their early motorcars, trolley cars, and fashionable attire of the day, captured perfectly the atmosphere of the bustling boulevards of the Belle Époque.

First pair up, measuring 10 1/4 x 17 3/4in (26 x 45cm) showed the Avenue Victor Hugo and the Station D'Orsay and made a combined £28,000. The second pair, of the Palais du Justice and La Madeleine, measuring 7 1/4 x 11 3/4in (18.5 x 30cm) made £23,000.

"Both came down to a battle between two dealers, one from the North and one from the Midlands," said Anthony Pratt.

"They each bought one pair and underbid on the other. Needless to say, the owner was thrilled."

The sale as whole offered 54 lots in the oil paintings and watercolours sections, of which 27 sold for a total of £75,000.

Two pictures by Keith Vaughan (1912-1974) consigned from a deceased estate in Westgate, near Thanet, showed that his stock is still riding high after the major retrospective held at Olympia in 2002.

A watercolour of male standing figures, signed and dated 1959, generated seven telephone bidders and fell to a London dealer at £12,000.

The underbidder was a London collector who was the eventual buyer of the other Vaughan work, an abstract pastel landscape with figures, signed and dated 3 Sept '59 , which made £3900.

Neither picture had previously been seen since they were purchased in the 1960s.

Elsewhere in the sale, a pair of Frank William Scarbrough (fl. 1896-1939) watercolours, Tower Bridge and Off Limehouse, London, both 6 1/2 x 9 1/2in (16.5 x 24cm) river scenes showing ships and lighters, sold for £4000.

They had been consigned from a private home in Thanet and were purchased by a Midlands gallery.