The auctioneer Michel Maignan (1940-2019) was a lifelong fan enthusiast and a founder member of the Cercle d’Eventail (The Fan Circle), inheriting a passion from his grandfather Jules-Charles Maignan, director of the Duvelleroy house from 1940.
Duvelleroy is a name famous among users and collectors of fans.
Founded in 1827 by Jean-Pierre Duvelleroy, the firm, which is still in existence, specialises in fans.
This summer Michel’s impressive collection was put up for auction in a 443-lot two-day sale held by Rossini (23% buyer’s premium) in Paris on July 3-4.
Maignan’s fans encompassed eastern and western examples in a wide range of materials.
The auction house found buyers for 391 of them to take a premium-inclusive total of just over €312,000 (£283,600) with interest from collectors and several museums. Among the latter were the Musée de la Nacre et la Tabletterie in Méru, France, and The Fan Museum in Greenwich, London.
The highlight of the auction proved, as expected, to be the rarity which opened the two-day sale: an early 16th century Italian Venetian flag-shaped fan.
The 4¾ x 2in (12 x 5cm) pigskin leaf is decorated and stamped in the manner of 16th century book bindings and applied with a silk fringe. The centre on both sides are painted with scenes exemplary of love.
One side shows Venus lying on a bed accompanied by Cupid while a satyr grasps the transparent drape that covers the goddess. The other features a landscape with cupid seated to the foreground holding strings attached to traps that are used to catch a variety of birds in the middle ground with a hunting scene in the background. The leaf is attached to a carved ivory handle.
Fans of this type are shown in Venetian paintings of the period such as Veronese’s portrait of Venus and Adonis in the Prado.
Estimated at €20,000-25,000, it sold for €29,000 (£26,360).
£1 = €1.1