The 6½ x 8½in (16.5 x 21cm) self-portrait of the photographer smoking from a hookah in an oriental interior (right), created c.1845, eclipsed its €40,000-60,000 estimate to sell for €152,000 (£126,670) plus 24% inc VAT buyer’s premium. It was bought by an American collector.
Dolard, who was born in Lons-le-Saulnier in 1810, was an early adopter of the photographic medium but from the late 1850s gradually abandoned it to devote himself to painting. The smoking self-portrait was one of a series of three, the others being a study as a Malade Imaginaire and a third as an Artist Painter, the latter now forming part of the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Fine Art.
Gérard Lévy, a Parisian art dealer and expert who died last year, was born in Casablanca and opened an Asian art gallery in Paris in the mid-1960s on the rue de Beaune. Known as ‘the man with the carnation’, a reference to the flower he sported in his buttonhole, Lévy counted many institutions among his customers and he advised both Jacques Chirac and André Malraux.
The auctioneers sold his collection at the Drouot auction centre over two days on December 15 and 20, a division reflecting his two principal interests – a 449-lot session devoted to Asian art followed by 120 lots of photography. Together these chalked up a premium-inclusive total of €2.8m.
The most expensive photograph after the Dolard was a signed portrait by Félix Nadar of his son Paul asleep in the arms of Madame Auguste Lefranc, a 7½in (19cm) tondo-shaped salt print from a glass negative of 1858-59 which realised €72,000 (£60,000).