Auction Results | Givaudan Collection at Piguet

Posted in Art Market by Editor on March 21, 2017

Press release, via Art Daily:

Givaudan Collection
Piguet Auction House, Geneva, 15 March 2017

Lot 794: Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Man Pointing to a Skull, red chalk.

The prices for the Givaudan Collection soared this week at Piguet Auction House in Geneva. A red chalk drawing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) sold for six times its low estimate, fetching CHF 267,500, the highest price seen at auction for the last decade (lot 794 estimated at CHF 40,000–60,000). This result is the third best price ever achieved for a red chalk drawing by Fragonard, the first and second being for works sold at Sotheby’s before the economic downturn of 2008 (one fetching €391,063 in 2007 and the other €286,534 in 1998). Another star lot from this collection, the spectacular pair of Louis XV Meissen porcelain candelabras, sold for CHF 158,000 at five times its low estimate (lot 586 estimated at CHF 30,000–50,000). The paintings, furniture, silver, and works of art from the collection totalled 55 lots altogether and fetched over one million Swiss francs (CHF 1,095,000).

The Givaudan Collection was part of the Spring Sale at Piguet Auction House, which finished Thursday evening with an end result of CHF 3.9 million. The Jewellery and Watches sale fetched CHF 1.5 million alone. The Wine and Spirits sale saw an almost clear round selling 92% of lots auctioned. Around 500 lots over the four days of auctions were sold at less than CHF 300, providing many an opportunity for a little indulgence at a low price.

Collectors and enthusiasts alike went into battle in the saleroom and over the telephones to be a successful bidder on pieces from this important collection from Xavier and Leon Givaudan’s estate. Having settled in Geneva over a century ago, the Givaudan brothers made their fortune in the production of synthetic perfumes, soaps, and chemicals. Consulting only the most renowned Parisian dealers and galleries, their collection began to take shape at the beginning of the 20th century. Furthermore, thanks to the research carried out by Piguet Auction House specialists, certain pieces were traced all the way back to their 18th-century origins.

French and American collectors were the most forthcoming in their bidding on the drawings and paintings while the Swiss and German collectors went to battle over the bronzes and works of art. Two clients in particular entered a bidding war over the telephones which saw a red chalk drawing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard reach CHF 267,500. The red chalk drawing which includes a skull is annotated in French “he has been what I am: what he is I will be soon.” Discovered by Bernard Piguet in the previous owner’s shoe cupboard, this red chalk drawing has now become the third most expensive work of its kind by the artist in the world. First and second place are held by drawings sold at Sotheby’s before the economic downturn of 2008 (red chalk drawing sold for €391,063 in 2007 and another for €286,534 in 1998).

Lot 793: Louis Léopold Boilly, Conjugal Tenderness.

Just minutes later, two other red chalk drawings by Hubert Robert (1733–1808) fetched CHF 82,700 and 94,800. Their provenance had been traced uninterruptedly from the present owner right back to the artist himself (lots 803 and 804 each estimated at CHF 15,000–20,000). The married couple sharing an intimate moment in La tendresse conjugale (Conjugal Tenderness) by Louis Léopold Boilly (1761–1845) moved one client to bid CHF 121,600 by telephone before finally becoming its next owner (lot 793 estimated at CHF 60,000–80,000).

During Wednesday afternoon’s auction, the Louis XV candelabras took centre stage. Veritable works of art in themselves, these important Meissen porcelain figures after a model by J.J. Kändler are set in ornate ormolu mounts (ca. 1740). Selling at five times their low estimate, these finely crafted candelabras fetched CHF 158,000 (lot 586 CHF 30,000–50,000).

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