On November 15 a mixed-discipline sale at Mirabeau Mercier (25% buyer’s premium) realised €520,000 (£444,445) for a 2ft 5ft x 2ft (75 x 60 cm) oil on canvas by the 17th century Flemish artist Michael Sweerts (1618-64), the thirdhighest price paid for the artist at auction.
Touch, an allegorical but nonetheless realistic portrait of a grinning man clutching a cat whose head he strokes, is one of a series of depicting the five senses. Another, l’Oderat, is in the Académie des Beaux Arts in Vienne.
The painting dates from c.1655 when Sweerts returned from Italy to open a studio in his native city of Brussels.
Doré on a high
Another 17th century portrait, by the Dutch artist Adriaen Hanneman (1603-71), featuring a young girl holding a hen, featured in Aguttes’ sale. The 2ft 9in x 2ft (85 x 61cm) oil on canvas sold for €200,000 (£170,940).
The auction also recorded a new auction high of €92,000 (£78,630) for a work on paper by Gustave Doré (1832-83) for his L’Entreposage en ville. The 20in x 2ft 11in (52 x 88cm) watercolour, pencil and gouache study, depicting a scene of loading from London warehouses, was signed and dated 1882 and had a dedication to Willy Blumenthal. The previous high of $85,000 was set back in 2006 at Sotheby’s New York.
A strong works on paper result emerged at Art Valorem’s (26% buyer’s premium) mixed-discipline sale on November 22 when Eugène Delacroix’s (1798-1863) pencil and stump study of the head of a young Moorish woman sold for €175,000 (£149,570).
The 19 x 15in (48.5 x 38cm) sensitively rendered study, which bore the stamp of the studio sale lower left, had a provenance to Delacroix’s contemporary, the poet and journalist Alfred Busquet.