At Christie’s | Paintings and Drawings from the Marcille Collection

Posted in Art Market by Editor on November 9, 2021

Lot 7: Jean-Siméon Chardin, La Fontaine (Water Urn), detail, ca. 1730s, oil on canvas, 50 × 43 cm (estimate €5–8million).

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From the press release (via Art Daily) for the auction:

De Chardin à Prud’hon, Tableaux et Dessins Provenant des Collections Marcille, Sale 20722
Christie’s Paris, 22 November 2021

Christie’s France—in collaboration with the auction house Tajan—presents an important group of paintings and drawings from the Marcille Collection, one of the most far-sighted collections of 18-century French art assembled in the 19th century. Initiated by François Marcille (1790–1856), and continued by his two sons Camille (1816–1875) and Eudoxe (1814–1890), the collection came to include some 4,600 paintings and other works. Although the collection was dispersed by inheritance within the family, collectors will now be able to acquire 27 works, including several masterpieces from major artists of the 18th and early 19th centuries, artists such as Jean-Siméon Chardin, Maurice-Quentin de la Tour, Théodore Gericault, Charles Coypel, and Pierre-Paul Prud’hon. The sale is estimated at between €5.7 million and €9.1 million.

Pierre Etienne, Director of the Department of Old Master Paintings: “There are names of collectors that are true stamps, labels of quality. The name Marcille evokes the excellence of the French 18th century, and even more vigorously for Chardin, La Tour, and Prud’hon.”

The Goncourts said of Camille Marcille that one should “study Chardin [at his home] to do full justice to the painter.” In 1979, at the time of the monographic exhibition of Chardin at the Grand Palais, the Marcille family loaned 22 of his paintings, including a superb genre scene representing a Woman at the Water Urn (estimate €5,000,000–8,000,000)—a work that entered the Marcille collection in 1848 and contributed to the rediscovery of Chardin in the 19th century through its inclusion in the first French exhibition devoted to the artist in 1860. Théophile Gautier was impressed by this very original work and wrote that it showed “what no one had ever talked about.” Chardin, not included in the canon of his time, preferred poetic scenes of everyday life to the more frivolous portraits of the century and came to be described as the ‘French Vermeer’. Chardin’s genre scenes were the most sought after and extremely rare on the market. Fontaine is one of the very first genre scenes in which Chardin fully reveals himself. Several museums have versions of the painting, including the first one, (on panel) from the Salon of 1737, at Stockholm’s Nationalmuseum and a version at the Toledo Museum of Art. The one from the Marcille Collection is the last in private hands and has not appeared on the market since 1848.

Lot 8: Jean-Siméon Chardin, L’hiver, à l’imitation de bas-relief d’après Edmé Bouchardon, 1776, oil on canvas, 55 × 88 cm (€80,000–120,000)

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Another painting by Chardin, Winter, in Imitation of Bas-relief after Edmé Bouchardon (estimate €80,000–120,000), will also be part of the sale. It attests to the Marcille family’s passion for the painter as well as to Chardin’s mastery of trompe l’oeil. The sale also features works acquired by Camille and Eudoxe Marcille—both of whom worked as curators, of the Chartres and Orléans museums respectively—in particular, an animated landscape by Hubert Robert (Lot 4: Waterfall Landscape with a Bridge, estimate €30,000–50,000) and two portraits by Nattier’s brilliant pupil, Louis Tocqué.

A fine group of ten sheets by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon is included in the drawings section of the sale. The Marcilles had a particular passion for this neoclassical artist who gave drawing a prominent place in his work, typically combining black and white chalk on blue-grey paper. The ensemble illustrates the diversity and iconographic richness of the artist’s drawings. Among the highlights are portraits, including that of Baroness Alexandre de Talleyrand at the Age of Seven (estimate €25,000–35,000) and a Head of Napoleon in a Medallion, which was later engraved by Alexandre Tardieu (€20,000–30,000). Finally, Prud’hon’s commitment to the Empire is reflected in the collection by a Design for the Cradle of Roi de Rome (estimate €25,000–35,000), later created by Philippe Thomire and Odiot and now in the Schatzkammer in Vienna, along with a Design for a Chair for Empress Marie-Louise (estimate €12,000–18,000).


New Book | The Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture

Posted in books by Editor on November 9, 2021

From Oxford UP:

Ivan Gaskell and Sarah Anne Carter, eds., The Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), 680 pages, ISBN: 978-0199341764, $150.

The past has left a huge variety of traces in material form. If historians could figure out how to make use of them to create accounts of the past, a far greater range of histories would be available than if historians were to rely on written sources alone. People who do not appear in writings could come into focus; as could the concerns of people that have escaped writing but whose material things belie their desires and actions. This book explores various ways in which aspects of the past of peoples in many times and places otherwise inaccessible can come alive to the material culture historian. It is divided into five thematic sections that address history, material culture, and—respectively—cognition, technology, symbolism, social distinction, and memory. It does so by means of six individually authored case studies in each section that range from pins to pearls, Paleolithic to Punk.

Ivan Gaskell is Professor of Cultural History and Museum Studies at Bard Graduate Center, New York City. Sarah Anne Carter is Visiting Executive Director of the Center for Design and Material Culture, and Visiting Assistant Professor in Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


List of Contributors

Introduction: Why History and Material Culture?

I  History, Material Culture, and Cognition
• Words or Things in American History? — Steven Conn
• Artifacts and Their Functions — A. W. Eaton
• Mastery, Artifice, and the Natural Order: A Jewel from the Early Modern Pearl Industry — Mónica Domínguez Torres
• Food and Cognition: Henry Norwood’s A Voyage to Virginia — Bernard L. Herman
• On Pins and Needles: Straight Pins, Safety Pins, and Spectacularity — Amber Jamilla Musser
• Mind, Time, and Material Engagement — Lambros Malafouris and Chris Gosden

II  History, Material Culture, and Technology
• Material Time — John Robb
• Remaking the Kitchen, 1800–1850 — J. Ritchie Garrison
• Boston Electric: Science by ‘Mail Order’ and Bricolage at Colonial Harvard — Sara J. Schechner
• Making Knowledge Claims in the Eighteenth-Century British Museum — Ivan Gaskell
• The Ever-Changing Technology and Significance of Silk on the Silk Road — Zhao Feng
• Science, Play, and the Material Culture of Twentieth-Century American Boyhood — Rebecca Onion

III  History, Material Culture, and the Symbolic
• The Sensory Web of Vision: Enchantment and Agency in Religious Material Culture — David Morgan
• Sensiotics, or the Study of the Senses in Material Culture and History in Africa and Beyond — Henry John Drewal
• The Numinous Body and the Symbolism of Human Remains — Christopher Allison
• Symbolic Things and Social Performance: Christmas Nativity Scenes in Late Nineteenth-Century Santiago de Chile — Olaya Sanfuentes
• Heritage Religion and the Mormons — Colleen McDannell
• From Confiscation to Collection: The Objects of China’s Cultural Revolution — Denise Y. Ho

IV  History, Material Culture, and Social Distinction
• Persons and Things in Marseille and Lucca, 1300–1450 — Daniel Lord Smail
• Cloth and the Rituals of Encounter in La Florida: Weaving and Unraveling the Code — Laura Johnson
• Street ‘Luxuries’: Food Hawking in Early Modern Rome — Melissa Calaresu
• Ebony and Ivory: Pianos, People, Property, and Freedom on the Plantation, 1861–1870 — Dana E. Byrd
• The Material Culture of Furniture Production in the British Colonies — Edward S. Cooke Jr.
• Material Culture, Museums, and the Creation of Multiple Meanings — Neil G. W. Curtis

V  History, Material Culture, and Memory
• Chronology and Time: Northern European Coastal Settlements and Societies, c. 500–1050 — Christopher Loveluck
• Materialities in the Making of World Histories: South Asia and the South Pacific — Sujit Sivasundaram
• Mapping History in Clay and Skin: Strategies for Remembrance among Ga’ anda of Northeastern Nigeria — Marla C. Berns
• Remember Me: Sensibility and the Sacred in Early Mormonism — Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
• Housing History: The Colonial Revival as Consumer Culture — Thomas Denenberg
• Collecting as Historical Practice and the Conundrum of the Unmoored Object — Catherine L. Whalen

Conclusion: The Meaning of Things


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