The Drouot auction centre puts on an exhibition of forthcoming season highlights, while many independent French houses will display a similar taste of what is to come over the next few months in their own premises.
But the auction territory is not completely fallow. Some firms are already holding sales during this period, as ATG's selection here demonstrates.
The first big sale of the auction season at Drouot in Paris will be held by Millon on September 20, when it will offer the Berjonneau-Muñoz Collection of Pre-Columbian art. Gerald Berjonneau is a noted collector of early Mexican art and culture and inherited another fine collection from his father-in-law Alvaro Guillot-Muñoz, who died in 1971.
Around 120 objects from these two sources will feature at the Drouot sale and one of the highlights is expected to be a palma stone sculpture estimated at €80,000-120,000. It is carved in the round with a stylised representation of the freshwater Morelet’s crocodile found only in the eastern regions of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, and is a product of the Veracruz Culture, dating from 600-900AD.
Palma sculptures are considered to be stylised representations of the body protection worn in the ritual ball games of the period that have been Berjonneau’s main focus as a collector.
Viewing from September 15-19.
During the Biennale Christie’s will be relying on the huge and eclectic collection of the interior designer Alberto Pinto (1943-2012) to draw viewers and buyers to its avenue Matignon saleroom. Pinto was a passionate collector and a flamboyant entertainer. Spectacular sets of tableware will be a feature of the three-day sale from September 12-14, including an 18th century Chinese part dinner service, estimated at €80,000-120,000.
As a collector, Pinto valued eclecticism above style or period and among the more recent scene-stealers will be a Bureau Croco, a gilt-bronze desk by Claude Lalanne, dated 2008, one of a limited edition of eight, which is estimated at €120,000-180,000.
Viewing from September 8-12
During the Biennale from Friday, September 15, until Saturday, September 23, a number of auction highlights from the forthcoming autumn and winter sales series will be on view at the Hôtel Drouot.
Pre-Columbian art will be back in the Paris salerooms on December 1 when Binoche et Giquello offers a second instalment from a New York collection, following a first sale in March.
Among the highlights will be a 4in (10.5cm) high jaguar-head manopla or handstone from Veracruz, dating from 300-600AD and estimated at €60,000- 80,000. The manopla was part of the equipment used in the ritual ball-game that was part Mexican culture for 3000 years.
In some versions of the game played in Veracruz and surrounding areas, handstones were held in the player’s palm and used to strike a hard rubber ball. In other areas players appear to have relied on cloth wrappings to protect their palms.
The name Beauvau-Craon will be forever associated with the establishment of Sotheby’s as a leading auction house in the French capital. Though international auctioneers had long been active in France, restrictive laws meant that all auctions were in the hands of French-qualified commissaires-priseurs and outsiders had been obliged to sell items sourced in France in Monaco or elsewhere.
All this changed under the direction of Laure de Beauvau-Craon, who joined Sotheby’s in 1991 and campaigned solidly until the French authorities were finally forced to allow foreign competition in the auction market, ending a 400-year monopoly.
Laure de Beauvau-Craon died earlier this year and her dedication will be recognised on September 15, when Sotheby’s will inaugurate a new saleroom named after her with the auction of the family collection of her late husband, Prince Marc de Beauvau-Craon.
Principal among the historic heirlooms will be an equestrian bronze of Louis XIV after Étienne Le Hongre estimated at €80,000-120,000. Among the more recent family treasures will be the Giovanni Boldini portrait of the prince’s ancestor, Grace King Connelly, estimated at €30,000-50,000.
The sale is one of three single-owner auctions at Sotheby’s Paris rooms on September 14-15.
Viewing from September 10-14
Those captivated by the city of Paris should be sure to pass through Drouot during the Biennale to view the punningly titled sale Paris Sous Tous les Plans, a collection of 150 maps, books, atlases, prints and albums documenting the mapping of the French capital from the mid-16th century to the late 19th century.
Among the many representations of the growing city is a bird’s-eye view of the compact and closely-walled conurbation of c.1620, published in Martin Zeiller’s Topographia Galliae of 1655. It measures 14 x 18in (35 x 45cm) and is estimated at €600-800.
The sale will be held by Kâ-Mondo (Kapandji-Morhange) on September 18.
Viewing from September 15-18