On September 14 at Sotheby’s Paris rooms, the Palace of Versailles bought a painting of its orangery by Hubert Robert (1733-1808), exercising their right of pre-emption to secure it at the fall of the hammer for €110,000 (£90,000).
Less than two weeks later, at the sale held by Ivoire Nantes on September 27, another institution pre-empted a second local landmark by the same Parisian Old Master.
This time it was the Musées Nationaux who claimed Robert’s view of the demolition of the château of Meudon for €90,000 (£77,585) on behalf of the department des Hauts de Seine.
Previously auctioned in 1809
The château, which was situated south-east of Paris, was vandalised during the Revolution and demolition took place from 1803-4. Robert had worked on the restoration of its grounds in 1784 and made some sketches on site. This 23in x 2ft 5in (59 x 74cm) is a smaller version of a painting in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
Recent research by the cabinet Turquin in Paris had identified Ivoire’s painting as forming part of the posthumous auction of artist’s works held on April 5, 1809, where it is thought to be the work catalogued as a “belle esquisse terminée de la démolition du chateau de Meudon“ (fine completed sketch of the demolition of the Château of Meudon), bought by a buyer named Coseus for 50 francs.