At Sotheby’s | de La Tour d’Auvergne Lauraguais Collection

Posted in Art Market by Editor on May 1, 2012

Press release from Sotheby’s:

Collection of Prince and Princess Henry de La Tour d’Auvergne Lauraguais, L12308
Sotheby’s, London, 3 May 2012

Enrico Hugford, one of a pair of Italian scagliola panels
within carved giltwood and ebonised frames, mid 18th century

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Sotheby’s London will offer for sale The Collection of Prince and Princess Henry de La Tour d’Auvergne Lauraguais on 3rd May 2012 [L12308]. The auction comprises property from the family’s London homes. It will include very fine Neo-classical and Empire furniture, the finest collection of 18th-century scagliola to appear at auction, Old Master paintings, silver, objets de vertu, and drawings and books from the library of celebrated designer and architect Emilio Terry from Château de Rochecotte. Estimates in the sale range from £400 to £300,000. In total, the auction is estimated to realise £2-4 million. The history of the de La Tour d’Auvergne Lauraguais family is a long and distinguished one. Related by marriage to the noblest dynasties in France, it is one of only six families (alongside the houses of Savoie, Lorraine, Grimaldi, Rohan and La Tremoille) to be granted the rights and privileges accorded to foreign princes.

Mario Tavella, Deputy Chairman, Sotheby’s Europe commented: “It is an honour for Sotheby’s to be entrusted with this wonderful collection from one of France’s greatest and most glamorous families. Collectors will be delighted with the quality and breadth of items on offer, which together exude a very chic look. Emilio Terry was at the heart of avant-garde circles in 1920s Paris and many of the books in his library reflect his intimate relationship with key figures such as Henri Matisse and Salvador Dali. More than that, his passionate interest in architecture is manifest in the host of important architectural books that he owned, as well as in his own fabulous and often fantastical drawings.”

The sale includes museum quality Neo-classical and Empire furniture by some of the greatest French ébenistes, including Jacob and Joseph. The group is headlined by a magnificent gilt-bronze mounted amaranth and tulip wood secrétaire by Joseph, circa 1770, which, with its very strong neo-classical outline, represents the pinnacle of Le Goût Grec style. Estimated at £150,000-300,000*, an identical secrétaire is held in the Getty Museum in Malibu.

The sale will present the greatest collection of 18th-century scagliola ever to come to the market. Developed in 17th-century Tuscany as an alternative to the costly marble inlays of pietra dura, scagliola is an extraordinarily complex technique, often used to produce decorative effects resembling inlays in marble and semi-precious stones. The technique is a particular passion of Princess Anne de La Tour d’Auvergne Lauraguais, who is an expert in the field. The sale will offer eight rare scagliola panels by virtuoso craftsmen Enrico Hugford and Lamberto Christiano Gori, which depict seascapes and marine scenes inspired by the Tuscan coast. Princess Anne de La Tour d’Auvergne Lauraguais commented: “It was my father, Prince Henry who inspired me to study the art of scagliola, and in turn it was my father’s uncle Emilio Terry who also truly appreciated this form of art and who had influenced him. In my father’s opinion, scagliola had a refinement of colour, texture and sensuality softened as if dimmed by a veil of fog, not like pietre dure which could be bright and almost screaming with colour. Scagliola is a man-made stone, not meant to be used outside, but to live with…. I followed his advice and am indebted to him for giving me a life-long love for the art of scagliola.”

Emilio Terry (1890-1969), the maternal uncle and mentor of Prince Henry de La Tour d’Auvergne Lauraguais, was a well-known designer, artist and architect. He was a member of the 1930s Parisian avant-garde, and in 1936, his work was exhibited alongside Salvador Dali and Meret Oppenheim at the Fantastical Art, Dada and Surrealism exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Many of his designs are now held at the Musée des Arts Decoratif in Paris. Renowned for his magnificent library at Château de Rochecotte, the sale presents part of Emilio Terry’s collection of architectural books and livres d’artistes from the Château, which were passed down to the de La Tour d’Auvergne Lauraguais family by descent. A selection of Emilio Terry’s architectural drawings and paintings ranging in estimate from £1,000 to £8,000 will also be offered for sale.

Highlights from Emilio Terry’s library include a near complete set of the first Paris edition, 1800-1807, of Giovanni Battista and Francesco Piranesi’s works, (29 works in 27 volumes) estimated at £150,000-£240,000. Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s much admired prints of Rome contributed considerably to the growth of the Neo-classical movement in art and architecture. His depictions of the drama and romantic grandeur of ancient Rome and his technical mastery make his works some of the most original and impressive representations of architecture found in Western art.

The largest known version of Antoine Ignace Melling’s Voyage pittoresque de Constantinople et des rives du Bosphore to have been offered at auction, is estimated to realise £20,000-30,000. Published in Paris in 1819, the grandest book of engraved views of Constantinople contains the earliest interior views and plans of the harem and palaces of Sultan Selim III. The exhibition of Melling’s original paintings for the Voyage pittoresque earned him the title of Painter to the Empress Josephine. A selection of Emilio Terry’s livres d’artistes includes: George Braque’s illustrated Hesiod by Théogonie, Paris, 1955, number 12 of 150 copies, estimated at £5,000-£7,000 and Henri Matisse’s illustrated Poèmes de Charles d’Orléans, estimated at £1,500-2,000. The sale will also include a selection of other items integral to the daily lives of this great aristocratic family: porcelain, silver, glass, linen, jewellery, clocks, objets de vertu and paintings, medals, orders and Cardinal’s regalia. In particular, lots 43, 62, 63, 138 and 139 have the provenance of Château de Rochecotte, the magnificent late 18th-century château bought by Emilio Terry from his brother-in-law Stanislas de Castellane in 1934.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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Update (added 6 May 2012): Prices far exceeded the pre-sale estimates; details are available at ArtDaily.com.

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