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The Drouot auction centre kicks off in September and also mounts a sale preview of memorabilia from one of the best-known brands of French biscuit.

Christie’s and Sotheby’s are timing single-owner sales to coincide with La Biennale Paris and Christie’s will exhibit key lots from its October sale of tribal art from the Stoclet collection during the Parcours des Mondes in early September.

Pictured below is a selection from these and other autumn season auctions.


One of the most colourful and nostalgic displays during early September will be a spectacular 1000-item collection relating to France’s best-known biscuit manufacturer: Lefèvre-Utile or LU.

From September 13-18 the main exhibition space at Paris’s central auction room complex at Drouot will be given over to a multi-faceted exploration of the humble Nantes patisserie which grew to become an international brand in the late 19th century. It tempted French palates with iconic products such as the Petit-Beurre biscuit and got under their skin with constantly innovative marketing campaigns.

This remarkable story of growth by industrialisation and promotion makes for a fascinating mix of material which will be offered in 600 lots by Damien Leclere at the Drouot on September 19.

The LU story began in the 1850s in rue Boileau, Nantes, where Jean-Romain Lefèvre and Pauline- Isabelle Utile started the process of reinventing the humble biscuit as a luxury item. However, it was their son Louis who really began to put the firm on the map in the 1880s, turning a family business into an industrial concern and more than rivalling the marketing know-how of the British manufacturers who then had a virtual monopoly on the biscuit market.

Louis’ original pencil design for the LU Petit-Beurre (famed for having four ears and 48 teeth) is included in the sale, as are numerous examples of the innovative packaging and marketing material which were largely responsible for making Lefèvre-Utile a household name by the turn of the century.

There are also many examples of LU’s collaboration with contemporary artists and designers to create the luxury ambience that raised simple biscuits to objects of desire.

The man behind this sale is Olivier Fruneau-Maigret, a native of Nantes and a lifetime collector of LU material. Having advised the Lefèvre-Utile family and overseen an earlier sale at Artcurial in 2003, he acquired the whole of the remaining family collection in 2007. Since then he has produced several exhibitions and publications. The family collection forms the core of September’s sale.




This carved and polished serpentine mask of a young jaguar shaman will be offered by Millon in Paris on September 18. Created in Olmec, Mexico c.900-400BC, it is estimated at €200,000-300,000.

From September 15-17 visitors to Paris will have the opportunity to view 150 lots from two major French collections of Pre-Columbian art which will be sold by Millon at the Drouot on September 18.

The majority of the sale is drawn from a select group of artefacts formed from the 1950s-70s by a Nice collector. It includes the carved serpentine mask, above, among a distinguished company of lots which have not been on the market for half a century or more.

These will be complemented by 10 previously unseen pieces from the well-known Guillot-Munoz collection. Alvaro Guillot-Munoz began buying Pre-Columbian art in the 1930s and left his collection to his daughter Julieta Esmeralda on his death in 1971.

Several major sales followed and the lots to be offered in Paris are probably the last still owned by the family. Among those on offer are a pair of Peruvian gold wrist guards dating from 200-600AD and estimated at €40,000-60,000.




Regates a Deauville, 1934, one of 10 works by Raoul Dufy which will be on view at Phillips in Paris. It is estimated at $400,000-600,000.

Phillips will make its contribution to Biennale week with a special preview of 10 works by Raoul Dufy from a French private collection. The doors of its Paris showroom on rue du Bac will be open from September 13-19 showcasing works from different periods of his cheerfully colourful career as a painter.

As well as the typical 1930s regatta scene shown above, the selection will include early works such as Le Jardin des Plantes (1909) and major post-war oils like Le Grand Orchestre. After Paris the works go on to London, Hong Kong and New York, where they will be sold in November.


Street art

The long-standing home of Paris’ auctioneers, the Hotel Drouot, will break new ground from September 27-30 when it will host a new urban and street art show.

It is called District 13 after the 13eme Arondissement, a cosmopolitan area of the capital which is already home to a number of dealers as well as the Tour Paris 13, a collective street art exhibition.

This Parcours was the brainchild of Mehdi Ben Cheikh of the Galerie Itinerrance, who is also art director of this new venture.

It has attracted international interest in the form of the Over the Influence gallery from Los Angeles and Hong Kong and Subliminal Projects from Sunset Boulevard, LA.

Admittance is €10, or €15 for a four-day ticket. The event closes with an auction on the final day.




A pair of mid-19th century sphinxes with putti and garlands, 4ft 10in (1.48m) high, to be sold by Artcurial on September 24. Attributed to the circle of Eugene Guillaume and fashioned from stone from the Saint Maximin quarries in the Oise, the pair are estimated at €120,000-160,000.

Artcurial will open its autumn season on September 24 with a sale of 500 lots from Origines, an extensive architectural antiques business at Richebourg just outside the capital.

Some hefty items have been selected, not least a complete Italian Renaissance style grotto-cum-temple created by the architect John Shaw for Cowbridge House in Wiltshire. This monumental piece is estimated at €120,000-160,000 and is by no means the only stately home accessory in the catalogue. On a smaller scale there are statues, fountains and spectacular chimneypieces.

Those wishing to view will need to head out along the N12 past Versailles to the Origines site.



Christie’s has chosen Biennale week to launch its autumn season with a spectacular single-owner collection of furniture and decorations in the classic French taste on September 10.

The late Juan de Beistegui (1930-2017) was from a family of noted collectors. Most well known of all was Carlos de Beistegui, whose paintings are still on view in a gallery in the Louvre which still bears his name, while his son Charles was a serious devotee of the decorative arts with show homes at Grousay, near Paris, and Venice.

Charles’ nephew Juan was the third in the chain and his passion was to furnish with all that was best from the reigns of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI. The sale catalogue is punctuated by names such as Boulle, Carlin, Jacob, Roentgen and Riesener – a confederacy of decorative genius that is rarely convened in the salerooms these days.

But to de Beistegui these were more than names, as his wife explained: “Johnny … knew the name and the rank of the person (often an important national figure) who had originally commissioned a piece.

“He knew the maker and all the rest of the craftsmen who contribute to a piece, like bronze casters, gilders and sculptors. He could reel off all the owners who had helped to bring an object down to the present day. It was a human tale to which Johnny responded.”

Now the time has come to continue that human chain of ownership for the 150 lots on offer here, which are estimated at €5m-8m.



The collection of the Comte and Comtesse of Viel Castel which is being offered at Sotheby’s in Paris on September 12 is a tasteful exercise in mix and match.

A family collection amassed over generations and drawn from several residences around the world, it includes classic 18th century French furniture and works of art as well as contemporary art and much else in between.

Mélanges is the sale title which Sotheby’s haschosen to bridge the gap between, say, a magnificently sober pair of 18th century cabinets by Leleu (estimate €150,000-250,000) and the bright colours of a 1970s abstract by Dieter Roth (€2000-3000).


This ceremonial flute-stopper from the Biwat tribe of New Guinea will be the highlight of an early season sale of Oceanic tribal art on October 10 at Sotheby’s, which is offering the collection of the leading Australian collector Elizabeth Pryce. Collected by the Australian painter William Dobell, the flute-stopper or wusear is estimated at €150,000-250,000.