An example of their popularity surfaced on December 15 when two small unpublished watercolour sketches that had been in the same family for almost a century were offered by Pescheteau Badin (27% buyer’s premium) at Drouot.
Each measuring around 4½ x 4in (11.5 x 10cm) and mounted on card, they are thought to have been created by the artist in the summer of 1880 when Manet was at Bellevue in Meudon undergoing medical treatment and spent his time producing sketches and watercolours.
One was a study of an almond in its shell signed E Manet lower right and inscribed Bellevue upper right and Philippine lower left and was painted either in 1897 or summer 1880. It sold for €92,000 (£78,630) against a guide of €20,000-25,000.
Woman in profile
The other signed EM was a portrait depicting a young woman in profile wearing a bonnet.
It is similar in style to four drawings in a sketchbook published by Denis Rouart and Daniel Wildenstein in the catalogue raisonné for Manet where a young woman is shown wearing the same hat and dress.
She has been identified by the authors as Marguerite, the younger sister of Madame Guillemet. Jules Guillemet and his wife ran a fashion shop on the Faubourg St Honoré and were friends of the artist who used them as the models for his painting Dans La Serre – Le Jardin d’Hiver.
Marguerite is known to have visited Manet at Bellevue in the summer of 1880 which would date the watercolour offered at Pescheteau Badin to this period.
Offered with an estimate of €50,000-70,000, it sold for €108,000 (£92,310).