In a specially arranged saleroom to comply with social distancing rules, three sales: The Collector – Le Goût Français; Books and Manuscripts and Old Master Drawings, were held across two days between May 26-27.
More than 750 clients chose to visit the gallery space to view the pre-sale exhibition over the nine viewing days, either by appointment or by adhering to a strict number limit for each room, designed to respect health and safety precautions but allowing for the 578 objects to be viewed in person.
Old Master and 19th century drawings
For the May 27 sale of Old Master and 19th century drawings, an auction that had been postponed from March, buyers from 15 different countries carried off 79% of the 90 lots raising a premium-inclusive total that was just shy of €2.5m.
A lost drawing by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo and three pastels by Simon Vouet that were making their first appearance on the market were billed as potential highlights of this sale and filled the top three price slots.
Topping the bill was Tiepolo’s Punchinello with children and a horse making a reappearance on the market after around a century.
The 14 x 18½in (36 x 47cm) pencil, brown ink and wash work, signed Domo. Tiepolo f lower right, was sold at Sotheby’s in 1920. It was then acquired by the New York actress and interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe, who was known as Lady Mendl on her marriage. She moved to Paris where the drawing hung in her boudoir at her Versailles home, La Villa Trianon.
In 1933 the house, extensive grounds and contents – including this Tiepolo work – were acquired by Commander Paul Louis Weiller, (1893-1993), a captain of industry and arts patron.
The drawing doubled the estimate, selling for €460,000 (£418,180).
The three Vouet pastels, all in well-preserved condition, were being offered for sale by the descendants of Camille de Tournon, comte de Simiane (1778-1833).
They are part of a group of pastels made during Vouet’s years in Paris, after his return from Rome when he had entered the service of Louis XIII in 1635, that are listed in an inventory of the artist’s estate dated July 3, 1649.
They mostly appear to depict members of the court and have 18th century mounts. Each of the three offered at Christie’s had an estimate of €100,000-150,000.
The most expensive at €165,000 (£150,000) proved to be the portrait of Cardinal Mazarin measuring 10¾ x 8in (27. 5 x 20 cm) which was pre-empted by the Louvre.
A 7 x 6in (18 x 16cm) portrait of a 75-year-old man signed S Vouet/ fecit and inscribed and dated Aetatis suae/75/1634 realised €130,000 (£118,180) and a 10¾ x 8¼in (27.5 x 21cm) profile portrait of a man looking to the left made €125,000 (£113,635).
Keen demand emerged for a drawing by the Flemish artist Peter Van Lint (1609-90) that climbed well over the €20,000-30,000 guide to take €90,000 (£81,820).
Van Lint’s 16½ x 10¾ in (42 x 27.5cm) pen and chalk study of the antique Apollo Belvedere, one of the most celebrated items in the Vatican’s collection of classical antiquities, is signed PVL.D.L. Rom/ 1639, dating it to the period when the artist spent nine years in the city.