It follows the sale last November at Christie’s Paris of the artist’s La Fontaine (The Water Urn) for a record price of €6m (£5.1m).
The painting to be offered by Artcurial with Old Master expert Cabinet Turquin is not a genre study like La Fontaine but one of the artist’s still-lifes, the other class of painting for which Chardin is particularly renowned (his oeuvre numbers around 120 examples). However, it comes from the same source as Christie’s painting: the Marcille collection.
The Marcilles – father François (1790- 1856) and sons Eudoxe (1814 -1890) and Camille (1816-1875) – were a dynasty of art collectors who rediscovered 18th century painting. François built up a collection of almost 4500 works by artists of the period including Chardin and was instrumental in reviving his reputation (the Marcille collection featured no fewer than 30 works by the artist). The massive collection was then divided between the two sons and Le panier de fraises des bois has remained in the hands of Eudoxe Marcille’s descendants until today.
Chardin’s work was inspired by the Northern, Dutch and Flemish, painters of the previous century and this painting, which was exhibited at the Salon of 1761, has similarities to depictions of bowls of strawberries by artists such as Jacob van Hulsdonck and Louise Moillon. Although his still-lifes often featured the same objects: silver goblets, teapots, hams, plums, melons and peaches, this is the only known example to feature strawberries.
The oil on canvas, which measures 15 x 18in (38 x 46cm) and is signed lower left Chardin, has an estimate of €12m-15m.