At Sotheby’s | From the Collection of Jacques Garcia

Posted in Art Market, on site by Editor on February 4, 2023

Salon-Tapisseries in the Château du Champ de Bataille
(Photo from Sotheby’s)

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Auction puffery is always interesting. The press release (via Art Daily) for the sale explains that Garcia’s “perfect knowledge of history is treasured by some of the greatest museums and institutions . . . [including] Versailles” and declares that the sale will “present the most important group of Sèvres ever to appear on the market.” We’re likely to hear a lot about it between now and May. –CH

At Auction: Jacques Garcia, Intemporel, Sale PF2361
Sotheby’s, Paris, 16 May 2023 (works on view in Paris, 11–15 May 2023)

Enfilade at Château du Champ-de-Bataille (Photo from Sotheby’s).

“The power of exceptional residences lies in the unforgettable feeling that stays with those who have visited them. As with all of Jacques Garcia’s creations, Champ de Bataille is one such memorable place. This setting leaves an indelible mark from the first visit, from the initial shock of its beauty to the awe when you realise the mammoth effort that has gone into its construction and renovation. Nowhere is Garcia’s mastery of atmosphere more evident.”  –Mario Tavella, Président of Sotheby’s France, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe

On 16 May, 75 prestigious works of art—handpicked by French interior designer and collector Jacques Garcia from the project of a lifetime—will be offered at Sotheby’s in Paris. The proceeds will benefit Champ de Bataille, preserving its legacy for future generations. Garcia is the creative force behind many of the most lavish and opulent settings in the world—from the La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakech and Hotel Costes in Paris, to painstakingly decorated rooms in the Louvre and Versailles. Most recently in the limelight has been his Villa Elena in Noto, a magnificent Sicilian villa featured in the US series The White Lotus, a labour of love for Garcia who painstakingly restored the baroque interiors, which were destroyed by an earthquake in 1693.

In 1992, Garcia acquired the Château du Champ de Bataille, one of the most charming and inventive buildings of its kind, designed by Louis le Vau (the architect behind Versailles) and boasting the grandest private garden in Europe. By the late twentieth century, only two of the rooms were in usable condition; and so, began a titanic project of renovating the site spanning the next three decades and then opening its doors to the public.

The collection assembled by Jacques Garcia for the Champ de Bataille is a tribute to the finest decorative arts of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, bringing together exceptional furniture, porcelain, and sculpture. Among the many masterworks are items that belonged to royalty and nobility—including Kings Louis XV and Louis XVI, Queens Marie Leszczynska and Marie-Antoinette, King William III and Queen Mary II, the Count of Provence, and the Dukes of Penthièvre and Lorraine. The selection continues into the 19th century with provenances including the Emperor Napoleon and dynastic collectors such as the Rothschilds.

The sale’s 75 lots will mark Garcia’s 75th birthday. Many pieces within the collection have a royal provenance, with Kings Louis XV and Louis XVI and Queens Marie Leszczynska and Marie-Antoinette among the previous owners (Photo from Sotheby’s).

The sale will offer several pieces of Neoclassical furniture crafted by prominent Parisian maker Georges Jacob and delivered for Queen Marie-Antoinette. These include two pairs of armchairs and a canapé thought to have been ordered for Marie-Antoinette’s Turkish Boudoir at Fontainebleau (each estimated at €400,000–600,000).

Among the most remarkable pieces is a console table by Parisian marchand-mercier and ébéniste Adam Weisweiler (estimated €1–2 million). The magnificent piece of furniture bears the hallmarks of the innovations towards the end of Louis XVI’s reign, bringing together precious materials such as Japanese lacquer and porcelain plates. The use of painted sheet metal, juxtaposed with the marble top, is unique in Weisweiler’s corpus, whilst paying homage to the work of his predecessor Martin Carlin.

A floral marquetry commode from the Louis XV period, attributed to Antoine-Robert Gaudreau (the principal supplier of furniture for the royal châteaux early in the reign of Louis XV), bears the mark of Louis XIV’s grandson, the Duke of Penthièvre (estimated at €400,000–700,000). Penthièvre was one of the wealthiest men of his day, living in the Château de Bizy in Normandy, which he partly decorated with furniture from the Marquise de Pompadour.

The sale also offers a daybed likely made for the wedding of Napoleon Bonaparte to Empress Marie-Louise in 1810 (estimated €100,000–200,000). Attributed to Jacob Desmalter, it follows the design from a drawing by French architects Percier and Fontaine and decorated with a medallion by Bertrand Andrieu (created to commemorate the marriage and associated Napoleon with a centuries-old dynasty).

A pair of cabinets, decorated with remarkable finesse with Japanese laquer and silver mounts from the Edo period (ca. 1640–80), hail from the collection of King William III and Queen Mary II of England (estimated €800,000–1,200,000). The decor reflects the strong Flemish and Dutch influences during their reign, as well as a penchant for East Asian elements.

The table service featured in the sale is decorated with images of 400 different birds after drawings by Buffon (Photo from Sotheby’s).

The sale will present the most important group of Sèvres ever to appear on the market. Among them is a pair of vases with Turkish-inspired decor from 1773, the compositions inspired by painter Jean-Baptiste Le Prince (estimated €200,000–300,000)—reflecting the contemporary craze of transposing fashionable artworks onto vases intended for the royal court. The collection also includes part of a table service with the Suddell family coat of arms, decorated with more than 400 different birds after the natural history drawings by Georges-Louis Le Clerc de Buffon, keeper of the Royal Garden in Paris (estimated €600,000– 1,000,000). Among the most spectacular of all is a pair of large ‘Lagrenée’ vases, with a vibrant purple background, dated 1797 (estimated €800,000– 1,200,000). Over its long history, this pair has belonged to a number of the most prestigious European collections: purchased at the Sèvres factory in December 1799 before being presented to King Charles IV of Spain in about 1800, acquired by Alexander Hamilton (the 10th Duke of Hamilton) in 1807–08, and passed on by descent to the 12th Duke of Hamilton, William Alexander Louis Stephen Douglas-Hamilton.

Recognised the world-over, Jacques Garcia has long been one of the most sought-after interior designers, reinventing himself with each project and dedicated to innovation through the bringing together of the classic and the modern. His influence is multi-faceted, spanning interior design, patronage of the arts, and technical and artistic advisor. Garcia was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1997, before being made a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2002, as well as the Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit.

From the 1990s, Garcia has worked for major international hoteliers, from Barrière-Desseigne to Costes; his standout achievements include La Réserve in Paris (a 5-star palace voted as the best hotel in the world in 2017) and the mythic La Mamounia in Marrakech. His innate talent for matching styles and his perfect knowledge of history is treasured by some of the greatest museums and institutions, many of which have entrusted him with their spaces. These include the Musée de la Vie Romantique in Paris, the grand apartments of Versailles, and the rooms of François I at the Château de Chambord. He has also played the rôle of scenographer for several exhibitions, the most spectacular of which was a recreation of the throne room in Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors in 2007.

Château du Champ-de-Bataille, built 1653-65 (Photo from Sotheby’s).

An art lover from his childhood, Garcia is also an eminent collector, buying his first works at the age of 25. His erudition, curiosity, and encyclopedic knowledge of inventories, as well as an overriding quest for excellence, has enabled him to assemble the finest examples of art and antiques. In 1992, Garcia acquired the Château de Champ de Bataille and set about on the project of a lifetime, renovating the residence in the image of the Grand Siècle. Inspired by the Universal Exhibitions, he also populated the garden with multiple follies, bringing together influences from China and India.

Built in the 17th century, the Château du Champ de Bataille is one of the most beautiful estates in France. Its first proprietor, Count Alexandre de Créqui, was exiled from court and placed under house arrest by Cardinal Mazarin during the Fronde (a series of civil wars in France between 1648 and 1653). De Créqui set upon building this home on his land in Normandy to remind himself of the splendour of the French court.

The castle then passed through the hands of a number of different families, including several cousins of the noble Harcourt family, each of whom made profound changes. In the 19th century, the almost derelict castle even became a hospital and then a prison.

At the time that Jacques Garcia acquired the property, only two of the rooms had retained their original decor. Remaining true to the grand spirit of the 17th and 18th centuries, Garcia redesigned and restored all of the other rooms, acquiring a wealth of furniture, paintings, and works of art from great collections to furnish and bring the space to life.

Alongside the interiors, Garcia also completely recreated the gardens, with the assistance of master landscaper Patrick Pottier. The result is a marriage of a historic garden and a contemporary vision, drawing inspiration from ancient and philosophical themes. The garden presents several architectural follies, including the ‘Temple of Leda’ and the ancient theatre or ‘Pavillion of Dreams’ (inspired by Mughal India and furnished with original pieces from Indian palaces). Today, the Champ de Bataille estate—covering an area of 45 hectares—is the largest private park in Europe, its gardens recognised for their wonder by the French government.

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For more information on the house, see Jacques Garcia and Alain Stella, with photographs by Eric Sander, Jacques Garcia: Twenty Years of Passion: Chateau du Champ de Bataille (Paris: Flammarion, 2014), 400 pages, ISBN: 978-2080201690.

At Christie’s | Interracial Double Portrait Purchased by Philip Mould

Posted in Art Market by Editor on January 23, 2023

Press release via Art Daily (22 January 2023) . . .

Double portrait of a Black girl wearing a blue dress and a younger white girl wearing a white dress; both wear red beaded necklaces. The older girl holds a pink flower while the younger holds a copy of Cinderella.

American School, A Portrait of Two Girls, ca. 1820, oil on canvas, 24 × 20 inches (Philip Mould & Co). Estimated to sell for $50–100K, the portrait sold at auction for nearly $1million.

An extraordinarily rare image of two children—one
White, one African American—was purchased by London art dealers Philip Mould & Company this evening (Friday, 20 January 2023) at Christie’s in New York for just under one million dollars.

Painted by an unknown artist in America in about 1820, and estimated at $50–100k, the double portrait attracted heated competition from collectors and museums on both sides of the Atlantic, eventually making ten times its top estimate with premium included.

Mould, who is also known as the art expert on BBC1’s Fake or Fortune, believes it to be unprecedented for this date in American portrait painting. “We are very excited to have bought it. I know of no painting of this date or earlier quite like it. The unselfconscious depiction of two racially distinct girls, who were clearly deeply attached, is extraordinarily rare for this period, as well as very affecting. The constraints and social protocol in painted portraiture of the period make such palpable depiction of interracial attachment almost without precedent.”

In their description of the painting Christie’s acknowledged its rarity, stating: “This double portrait presents its subjects as equals at a time of pervasive racial inequality. If anything, the pose and props cast the African American girl as the superior figure.” [Sale 21026, Lot 460]

The only painting that Mould knows which could be described as comparable is the portrait of Dido Belle and her cousin Elizabeth Murray painted around 1770 in England (on display as part of the collection at Scone Palace, Perth, Scotland)—a work that was the focus of an episode of Fake or Fortune in 2018. Dido was the daughter of a Black slave and White father. Mould identified the artist, after considerable research, as the Scottish portraitist, David Martin. “This however goes considerably further. Although, as yet, we don’t know the artist, nor the identity of the subjects, the relationship of equality is emphatically expressed” says Mould “The normal objectifications in the depiction of racial distinction have been set aside.”

A most unusual and revealing aspect of the painting is the book of the story of Cinderella held by the younger child. As the Christie’s cataloguer pointed out: “The inclusion of a reference to a well-known story with stepsister characters raises the possibility that in the absence of blood ties, the artist was nonetheless deliberately conveying sisterhood.” Mould muses “Or perhaps the reference to Cinderella is more obvious. As a female heroine who overcame the prejudices of her oppressors, Cinderella may well turn out to have more in common with the eldest child than initially thought.”

Future plans for the painting involve a period of research, after which Mould will be looking to place the work in a museum where its qualities and significance can be appreciated within a fuller context, and it can be enjoyed by the public.

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The painting was included in the Important Americana sale at Christie’s New York on 20 January 2023, Sale 21026, Lot 460. Also relevant is this early nineteenth-century miniature portrait of two girls with arms around each other.

At Bonhams | New Auction Record for Pair of Meissen Vases

Posted in Art Market by Editor on December 13, 2022

Lot 89: An extremely rare pair of Meissen red-ground bottle vases, from around 1735, sold at Bonhams for £831,900, more than four times their high estimate, and a new world record for a pair of Meissen vases. 

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Press release from Bonhams, announcing the results of the sale:

500 Years of European Ceramics
Bonhams, London, 7 December 2022

On Wednesday, 7 December 2022, at Bonhams 500 Years of European Ceramics sale in London an extremely rare pair of Meissen red-ground vases from around 1735 achieved £831,900, a new world record for a pair of Meissen vases. The vases more than quadrupled their pre-sale estimate of £120,000–180,000. The 219-lot sale made a total £1,625,280.

Nette Megens, Bonhams Director, Decorative Arts, U.K. and Europe, said: “This is an exceptional result for an important and hitherto unrecorded pair of vases. Bottle vases of this kind were made by the Meissen factory exclusively for the Dresden court, and these are the largest size and only known examples with this rare ground colour. These qualities, and the fact that these vases were fresh to the market, led to fierce competition in the saleroom. The price they achieved is also a testament to the taste of one of the greatest collectors of the 20th century, Catalina von Pannwitz (1876–1959), to whom they once belonged.”

Another top lot was the very rare pair of Nymphenburg large circular dishes from the ‘Hofservice’, ca. 1760–1735, which sold for £164,000, soaring past an estimate of £20,000–30,000.

Other sale highlights included:
• A pair of Meissen models of hares, ca. 1750, sold for £36,840 (estimate: £8,000–12,000).
• A rare Meissen footed stand from the Sulkowski service sold for £35,580 (estimate: £15,000–20,000).
• A Meissen basket centrepiece from Podewils service, ca. 1741–42, sold for £25,500 (estimate: £6,000–8,000).
• A large Vincennes/Sèvres oval green-ground dish (plat à groseilles) from the Frederick V of Denmark service, dated 1735–38, sold for £25,500 (estimate: £20,000–30,000).
• A Sèvres plate from the ‘service de dessert marly rouge’ for Emperor Napoleon I, dated 1809, sold for £20,400 (estimate: £8,000–12,000).
• A Meissen waste bowl from the Sulkowski service, ca. 1735–38, sold for £16,575 (estimate: £6,000–8,000).
• A rare Meissen large dish from the Sulkowski service, ca. 1735–38, sold for £14,025 (estimate: £12,000–18,000).


Exhibition | Beyond Boundaries

Posted in Art Market, exhibitions by Editor on December 2, 2022

From the introduction of the catalogue, available online, for the show now on view at Robert Simon Fine Art:

Beyond Boundaries: Historical Art by and of People of Color
Robert Simon Fine Art, New York, 27 October — 16 December 2022

Diversity is a crucial issue in the contemporary art world today. But what of the art of the past? Beyond Boundaries brings to light an array of paintings, sculpture, and other works of art from the 17th to 19th centuries, from Europe and the Americas, that explore subjects and makers often overlooked in traditional art history. But unlike many thematic exhibitions, there is no underlying social or political philosophy. Rather we have attempted to explore diversity simply by exhibiting diverse works of art—each chosen as it in some ways illustrates an aspect of the historical past, some surprising and empowering, others uncomfortable or disturbing.

Agostino Brunias, one of six paintings in a series here identified as Free Men and Women of Dominica and an Indigienous Family of St Vincent, oil on canvas, 12 × 9 inches.

At Bonhams | Fine Clocks

Posted in Art Market by Editor on November 12, 2022

The Old Rectory, in the village of Chilton Foliat, a Queen Anne style home, most of which dates to the mid eighteenth century. It’s located at the West Berkshire/Wiltshire border, two miles north of Hungerford. In May it was, as noted by Country Life, listed for £5.95 million.

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Press release from Bonhams:

Fine Clocks Sale
Bonhams, London, 30 November 2022

The Old Rectory, Chilton Foliat Sale
Bonhams, London, 6 December 2022

Two exquisite timepieces by the father of English clockmaking, Thomas Tompion (1639–1713) from the Elliot Collection of fine English clocks feature in Bonhams Fine Clocks Sale in London on Wednesday, 30 November 2022. The collection also includes an important late 17th-century ebony veneered longcase clock of three-month duration by another great clockmaker of the golden age, Joseph Knibb (1640–1711). In addition to these masterpieces of timekeeping, Old Master pictures, 19th-century paintings, and classic English decorative arts from Alan and Tara Elliot’s historic country home are to be offered in a separate sale—The Old Rectory, Chilton Foliat—at Bonhams on Tuesday, 6 December.

Thomas Tompion and Edward Banger, Type 3 Burr Walnut Longcase Clock, London, no. 463, ca. 1707

Tompion’s ebony table clock numbered 198, was made in around 1692, and embodies all that Tompion owners cherish (estimate: £200,000–300,000). The tall rectangular dial with its twin subsidiaries allows the crucial functions (time, winding, date, strike or silent) to be controlled from the front of the clock—an example of perfect industrial design. The exquisitely engraved backplate was created by the craftsman known today only as ‘Engraver 155’. 155’s confident and free engraving is of the highest order. He was responsible for the backplate of the year-going ‘Mostyn Tompion’ in the British Museum and decorated the miniature clock supplied to Queen Mary in 1693, which sold at Bonhams in 2019 for a record price of £1.6 million.

Knibb’s ebony veneered longcase clock of three-month duration with Roman-striking and one-and-a-quarter second pendulum is perhaps the most beguiling clock in the collection (estimate: £120,000–180,000). Knibb had an irrepressibly inquisitive brain and was obsessed by saving power in his clocks’ movements. An ordinary longcase clock hammer strikes its bell 156 times a day; Knibb realised that this was a massive drain on the power of the mechanism and sought different ways to sound the hours. His pièce de résistance was the development of the Roman striking system—as exemplified by this clock—whereby a deep bell represents the numeral 5, while a higher pitched bell represents 1. While one o’clock is marked by a single high hammer blow, five o’clock is a single low blow. Six o’clock, therefore, is one low blow followed by one high blow. This ingenious system saves 96 hammer strikes a day. Over the three months that the Elliot clock runs, 9,216 hammer blows are saved. Although inspired, the system never met with popularity, and it is rare to find a Roman striking clock today. They can always be spotted from a distance however, as the numeral 4 is denoted as IV instead of IIII.

The sale also includes an early 20th-century mahogany two-day marine chronometer by Victor Kullberg used by Ernest Shackleton in 1921, likely as part of the Quest expedition to Antarctica in 1921–22 (estimate: £1,500–2,500). Originally conceived as an Arctic voyage to travel north of Alaska, a last-minute loss of funding meant that the expedition could not go ahead. The entire cost of a replacement voyage was offered by John Quiller Rowett, who had agreed to partially fund the Arctic voyage, on condition that it be south bound to the Antarctic. The chronometer was collected by Shackleton from Greenwich on 21 July 1921, and the voyage began on 17 September of that year. Shackleton was unwell on board the Quest, and unfortunately, by the time the ship reached South Georgia, he was quite ill. He died of a heart attack shortly after arriving on 5 January 1922.

James Stratton, Bonhams Director of Clocks, said: “To own a clock by Thomas Tompion is every clock collector’s dream. Alan Elliot, who put together the wonderful collection we are offering in this sale, was fortunate enough to have two in his stewardship, as well as an important longcase clock by Joseph Knibb. Other Elliot clocks include a lantern clock from 1685 and a table clock by Langley Bradley, the man who made the first clock for St Paul’s Cathedral. Elsewhere in the sale, the marine chronometer taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton to the Antarctic on the Quest expedition is a timely reminder of a true British hero, the centenary of whose death we are marking this year.”

Other highlights include:

• A fine and rare early 18th-century walnut longcase clock by Thomas Tompion and Edward Banger, London, no. 463. This second of Alan Elliot’s Tompion clocks is particularly interesting as it was made when Tompion was in a brief partnership with his niece’s husband, Edward Banger. Estimate: £100,000–200,000.

• An 18th-century walnut striking longcase clock of one month duration by George Graham, London no. 590. Estimate: £30,000–50,000.

• A late 17th-century ebony veneered quarter-repeating timepiece by Langley Bradley, London. It is likely that this clock was used in a bedroom as it doesn’t strike the hours every hour. Anyone waking up in the night and wanting to know the time could pull a cord on the side to sound the hour and the quarters past the hour. This would have been invaluable before the advent of electricity or matches to light a candle. Estimate: £5,000–8,000.

Art Market | Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale, November 2022

Posted in Art Market by Editor on November 10, 2022

Designed by Pierre-Antoine Mongin and produced by Joseph Dufour (1754–1827), Jardins de Bagatelle/Jardins Anglais, ca. 1802, imprimé à la planche en papiers raboutés, 51 × 380 cm. Offered by Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz.

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From the July press release, via Art Daily:

Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale
Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, 9–13 November 2022

In February 2022, two leading French art fairs—the venerable Biennale, one of the world’s oldest art fairs (formerly known as La Biennale des Antiquaires) and the fast-growing Fine Arts Paris—announced that they had merged to create a new annual flagship event in Paris celebrating art from the Antiquity to present day. Now, Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale unveils details of its inaugural edition, which will take place at the prestigious Carrousel du Louvre, from 9 to 13 November, before moving to the Grand Palais Ephémère in November 2023 and then to the renovated Grand Palais in November 2024.

86 internationally renowned galleries and talented young dealers will participate in what promises to be a major event in the global art market calendar. A showcase of art, culture, savoir-faire, and heritage, Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale will present carefully selected artworks spanning no fewer than fourteen categories, including Antiquities, Old Masters, Antique Furniture, Modern and Contemporary Art, Tapestries, Ceramics, and Jewellery, as well as Tribal Art, Asian Art, Islamic Art, and Books and Manuscripts.

Louis de Bayser, President of Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale said: “Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale is Paris’s only fair dedicated to Fine Arts, tracing the entire history of art across time and continents. In the next three years, as we move from the Carrousel du Louvre to the Grand Palais Ephémère and ultimately the Grand Palais, our objective will be to expand the fair’s global reputation and growth, as well as to contribute to reinforce Paris’s status and importance on the international art market”.

18th-century pastel portrait of a man wearing a powdered wig and a blue coat, facing the viewer.

Rosalba Carriera, Portrait of a Gentleman in Blue Coat, 18th century, pastel, 55 × 40 cm. Offered by Galerie de Bayser.

Following on the footsteps of its illustrious predecessors, the new fair will bring together prominent Old Master galleries, led by a strong contingent of renowned French specialists (De Bayser, Didier Aaron, Baulme, Perrin, Giovanni Sarti, Coatalem, Mendes, Terrades, Leegenhoek, Talabardon & Gautier) and young art dealers (Edouard Ambroselli, Chaptal). They will be joined by London gallerist and pre-eminent scholar of 18th-century Venetian view painting Charles Beddington; Artur Ramon, one of Spain’s most important specialists in the field; Costermans, Brussels’ oldest art gallery, and the Geneva-based Dutch and Flemish painting specialist de Jonckheere who will present a 16th-century panoramic view by Hans Bol, among other masterpieces.

Antique Furniture and Decorative Arts

France’s long and glorious tradition of furniture-making and decorative arts will be reflected in the extraordinary selection showcased by Parisian galleries Steinitz, Léage and Oscar Graf. Belgium silver specialist Janssens van der Maelen will also participate alongside London dealer Brun who will unveil a terracotta bust of Napoleon.

Furthermore, the fair will welcome passionate gallerists with an unusual profile, including Portuguese neurologist turned collector and art dealer Mário Roque and 36-year-old Maxime Carron who, following a sporting education, created Royal Provenance, a gallery in Paris specialising in European heirlooms. Having recently sold a chair that once belonged to Queen Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom, he will unveil many more fascinating treasures, including a rare early 19th-century Morocco case containing the keys of Paris parks, possibly given by King Louis Philippe to his eldest son, Ferdinand-Philippe d’Orléans, Duke of Orléans (1810–1842) on the occasion of his coronation in 1830.

The fair will also welcome Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz, one of very few specialists in historic wallpapers in the world. The New York/Paris-based gallerist, whose greatest finds are now part of the major museums including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, will present a selection of wallpapers dating from the 18th century to the 1950s, including three large panels known as Jardins de Bagatelle / Jardins Anglais, designed by Pierre-Antoine Mongin and produced ca. 1800–04 by the French wallpaper and fabrics manufacture, Joseph Dufour in Macon.


Sculpture will feature strongly, with some of the most discerning specialists in the discipline vying to present rare pieces. The Parisian gallery Sismann, which focuses on Old Master sculpture, will present a Virgin and Child in limestone, made in Toul (France), ca. 1330–1340. Trebosc + van Lelyveld, Chiale and Ratton-Ladrière will show an ensemble of works from the Renaissance to the early 20th century. Michel Poletti and Alain Richarme from Univers du Bronze will celebrate the Golden Age of French sculpture (1830s–1930s) with works by Antoine-Louis Barye, Emmanuel Fremiet, Henri Laurens, and a life-size bronze nude representing David Victorious over Goliath, ca. 1894–1910, which was once in the collection of Auguste Lumière, the inventor of the cinematograph. The bronze is one of only two known similar works by the artist, the other being in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay.

Renowned for his early 20th-century animal sculptures, Xavier Eeckhout will exhibit an exquisite bronze lion cub made in 1935 by Louis de Monard. Galerie Malaquais will celebrate French figurative sculpture with Assia, a 1936 monumental sculpture by Charles Despiau, dedicated to and from the collection of the eminent French art dealer, editor and historian Georges Wildenstein (1892–1963).

Modern and Contemporary Art

Modern and Contemporary Art will also take centre stage in this inaugural edition of the fair. In a nod to history, Marianne Rosenberg, the granddaughter of Paul Rosenberg, perhaps the most important Modern Art dealer of the first half of the 20th century (who, for a time, worked with Wildenstein) will be present at the fair. Her New York gallery, Rosenberg & Co will exhibit a very rare oil on board by Henry Rousseau, La Citadelle, ca. 1893. Specialising in drawings for four generations, the Galerie de Bayser will unveil a magnificent charcoal drawing of a woman wiping her neck by Edgar Degas and a pastel depiction of a monkey by Simon Bussy.

Other leading modern and contemporary art galleries will include Jill Newhouse (New York), Lancz, La Béraudière (Brussels), and reputed French dealers, such as Applicat-Prazan, Berès, Brame & Lorenceau, Laurentin, Seine 55, Ary Jan, La Présidence, and Opera Gallery, which will showcase a roll call of modern and contemporary artists, from Fernand Léger and Marc Chagall, to Pierre Soulages and Fernando Botero. They will be joined by two Paris-based contemporary art galleries, RX and Christophe Gaillard.

Antiquities and Non-Western Arts

Tracing a complete world art history, Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale will bring together specialists in Antiquities, Tribal Art, Asian Art, and Islamic Art. A Roman marble Head of Aphrodite from the 2nd century AD will be one of the highlights presented by Kevorkian, a third-generation Parisian dealer specialising in Islamic Art.

They will be joined by Kent Antiques, a prominent London gallery dealing in Islamic and Indian art, Orientalist paintings, and courtly objects which will present an important Iznik blue and white pottery tile decorated with Saz leaves and khatai blossoms made in the Ottoman Empire, ca. 1545–50.

Asian Art will be represented by two highly regarded gallerists: Tamio Ikeda whose Parisian gallery Tanakaya will feature original Japanese prints, Ukiyo-e and Shin-Hanga, paintings, bronzes, ceramics, and lacquers; and Christophe Hioco, who will showcase a bronze head of Buddha from Thailand, Sukhothai, made in the late 14th–early 15th century.

In addition, the fair will be distinguished by a roster of Tribal Art galleries, led by Belgian African art expert Didier Claes and Oceanic art specialist Anthony Meyer. Visitors will be able to admire a 19th-century Dogon mask from Mali in the booth of Barcelona dealer Montagut, while the Parisian galleries Monbrison, Flak, and Belgian art dealers Mestdagh will impress with a display of artifacts from Oceania, Indonesia, Africa, India, and Japan.

Rare Books and Prints

A great drawing or painting is not always found in a frame, as demonstrated by the selection of rare books, manuscripts, and prints in the fair. The fourth-generation Parisian print dealer Prouté will present a 16th-century woodcut by Albrecht Dürer depicting the Christ in Limbo. They will be joined by H. H. Rumbler, Frankfurt specialists in Old Master prints; London dealer Daniel Crouch, a world authority in the field of rare atlases and maps; and an outstanding group of book specialists whose expertise spans the 15th through the 20th centuries. These include young gallerist Camille Sourget, fourth-generation book specialist Stéphane Clavreuil, and Parisian expert Jean-Baptiste de Proyart.


Finally, breaking the boundaries between fine and decorative arts, the new fair will also celebrate jewellery as a form of art. Renowned dealers in antique jewellery (Bernard Bouisset, Orpheo Genève, Martin du Daffoy, Larengregor) will be joined by contemporary artist-jewellers Walid Akkad, Frédérique Mattei, and Chinese designer Feng J. One year after one of her creations entered the collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Feng J will uncover spectacular new designs especially made for the fair. These include a masterpiece of jewellery craftmanship inspired by the artist’s passion for the Impressionist period: a diamond tiara whose various pastel tones are reminiscent of a Monet painting.

UK Export Ban Placed on The Cricketers by Benjamin West

Posted in Art Market by Editor on October 27, 2022
Benjamin West, The Cricketers, 1763, oil on canvas, 99 × 125 cm. The sitters are traditionally identified as the brothers Andrew and James Allen, of Pennsylvania; Ralph Wormeley, of Virginia; and Ralph Izard and Arthur Middleton, of South Carolina. Provenance: By descent in the family of Andrew Allen, acquired in 2021 by the current owner. Two versions of the painting exist, the first of which (this one) was the centerpiece of the 2018 exhibition Loyalties in Revolutionary Times at Freeman’s auction house in Philadelphia. A 25-page guide by Roland Arkell accompanied the show. The second version, dated 1764, is reproduced in Maurie Dee McInnis, ed., In Pursuit of Refinement: Charlestonians Abroad, 1740–1860 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1999), pp. 100–103.

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Press release (14 October 2022) from Gov.UK’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport:

Worth £1.2million, The Cricketers by Benjamin West—famed for The Death of Nelson—shows the evolution of cricket from a rustic to noble sport during the 18th century.

The Cricketers (Ralph Izard and Friends) by Benjamin West (1738–1820) is at risk of leaving the United Kingdom unless a buyer can be found. The Cricketers shows five wealthy American men playing cricket, possibly at Kew, while visiting the UK to study in the 1700s. The painting is regarded as one of the most important works depicting early cricket and shows that by the 1750s the sport had evolved from the rustic game played in the 1720s to one taken up by the aristocracy.

West is best known for his work The Death of Nelson (1806), which shows the great British naval hero Lord Nelson on the deck of his ship, Victory, at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Arts Minister Stuart Andrew said: “Cricket is enjoyed by millions of people across the world and this fascinating painting tells the story of the rise of the sport during the 18th century. It is a wonderful and rare depiction of the early development of one of our most loved games. I hope a buyer comes forward to save the work for the nation so we can give it another innings in the UK.”

The Minister’s decision follows the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest. The Committee noted that the painting came at a crucial period of the development of cricket as an elite sport and that it was a rare depiction of an early game of cricket. The Committee also suggested that identifying the background to the painting, would be an interesting research avenue and would add to its historical importance.

Committee Member Professor Mark Hallett said: “Together with its interest as a sporting painting, West’s picture is notable for being a rare group portrait of young colonial Americans in England. This kind of work, known as a ‘conversation piece’, was more commonly commissioned by British aristocrats to mark their Grand Tour through Italy. Here, however, the format is repurposed to fit the needs of a group of wealthy American friends who were studying in Britain in the early 1760s.”

The Cricketers powerfully demonstrates the extent to which these men were happy to identify themselves with what was often described as the ‘mother country’; some twelve years later, however, their world and their allegiances were to be thrown into flux by the American Revolution. West’s picture, made in his mid-twenties and one of the very first he produced on arriving in London in 1763, also illustrates the developing talents of an artist who was to enjoy great fame later in his career, and who became the second President of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1792.

The Committee made its recommendation on the grounds that the painting is of outstanding significance to the study of Britain’s relationship to America in the 18th century.

The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending on 13th April 2023 inclusive. At the end of the first deferral period owners will have a consideration period of 15 business days to consider any offer(s) to purchase the painting at the recommended price of £1,215,000. The second deferral period will commence following the signing of an Option Agreement and will last for three months.

At Christie’s | Ann and Gordon Getty Collection

Posted in Art Market by Editor on October 19, 2022

Installation Views: the music room, the blue parlor, and the primary bedroom of Ann and Gordon Getty’s San Francisco residence
(Photograph by Visko Hatfield © 2022)

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From the press release for the upcoming sales (with six online sales having already begun and additional information available here):

The Ann and Gordon Getty Collection
Christie’s, New York, October 2022
Part 1 | Important Pictures and Decorative Arts, Evening Sale, 20 October 2022 #21604
Part 2 | Old Master, 19th- and 20th-Century Paintings, 21 October 2022, #21605
Part 3 | English and European Furniture, Porcelain, and Silver, 22 October 2022, #21606
Part 4 | Chinese Works of Art, English and European Furniture and Decorative Arts, 23 October 2022, #21607

The legendary Ann & Gordon Getty Collection will be sold at Christie’s through a series of landmark auctions beginning October 2022. A symphonic tour-de-force of masterpieces drawn meticulously from history’s most esteemed collections and from one of America’s most storied interiors, The Ann & Gordon Getty Collection stands alone in its quality, rarity and beauty. Nearly 1,500 superlative works of decorative and fine arts will be offered by Christie’s from the couple’s San Francisco residence. Continuing the Gettys’ lifelong commitment to philanthropic causes, proceeds from the sales this October, which are expected to achieve as much as $180 million, will benefit the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for the Arts, devoted to the support of arts and science organizations. Designated beneficiaries will include leading California-based organizations with whom the Gettys have had a longstanding relationship, including the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, University of San Francisco, Berkeley Geochronology Center, and the Leakey Foundation.

Gordon Getty commented: “Though she left us far too soon, I know Ann would be proud that her exquisite eye and unmatched dedication to craftsmanship and scholarship are being shared with the world, and that the philanthropic planning around our art collection is being realized. These sales are a continuation of the longstanding philanthropic goals of the Getty family first established by my father, J. Paul Getty.”

Ann Getty’s intellect, curiosity and masterful feel for assemblage guided the Gettys in curating a world-renowned museum-quality collection across their Californian houses, including the very finest examples of English and European furniture, Asian works of art, European ceramics, Chinese export porcelain, silver, European and Asian textiles, and Impressionist and Old Master paintings. Vivid, daring, and steeped in history, the Collection evokes the golden age of England’s great houses; the fabled Grand Tour; the exotic tastes of the European courts; the feats of women adventurers, such as Isabella Bird in India and Gertrude Bell in the Middle East; and the vibrant intellectual circle of the Blue Stockings in the mid-18th century, such as Mary Delany and Queen Charlotte. Ann Getty masterfully styled each of their residences with distinctive details, themes, and layering. The Collection encapsulated the couple’s intellectual curiosity about the arts, music, science, and travel. Every object was hand-picked with a deep appreciation of its beauty and the artisanship that went into its creation.

The full press release is available here»

A video tour is available here»

At Bonhams | Exploration and Travel Literature with Americana

Posted in Art Market by Editor on October 18, 2022

From the press release for the upcoming auction:

Exploration and Travel Literature, Featuring Americana
Bonhams, New York, 25 October 2022

Manuscript map of the coast of California on cream paper.

Lot 12, Miguel de Costansó, Manuscript Map of California, Carta Reducida del Occeano Asiatico ó Mar del Sur…, produced in conjunction with the Portola and Serra expedition, 30 October 1770, 84 × 84 cm, on four conjoined sheets. Estimate: $600,000–800,000. More information is available here.

On October 25, Bonhams will present the most important 18th-century map of California as the highlight of its Exploration and Travel Literature, featuring Americana sale in New York. Estimated at $600,000–800,000, this original manuscript map of coastal California is signed by Miguel de Costansó (1741–1814), a Catalan cartographer, cosmographer, and engineer for the Portola Expedition. Dated Mexico, 30 October 1770, Costanso’s map is the first to depict San Francisco Bay and marks the beginning of the Spanish settlement in the region. The map exists in three versions: an early version in manuscript, not showing San Francisco Bay; this version in manuscript; and the 1771 printed map produced in Spain from this version.

A selection of Americana also features in the sale, including a subpoena for then President Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), the first to be issued to a sitting president, requiring evidence in the case of treason against Aaron Burr. The document provides one of the earliest and most prominent tests of the concept now known as executive privilege. Burr, the third Vice-President of the United States and a Founding Father, was arrested and accused of High Treason for his role in a wild conspiracy to raise an army to separate the Louisiana Territory and Western states from U.S. rule in 1807. The subpoena gave rise to a host of issues, including executive privilege, equal rights under the law, and the independence of the executive branch, as well as the idea of preservation of state secrets. It is estimated at $200,000–300,000.

Additional Americana sale highlights include
• A previously unknown 1847 letter written and signed by American abolitionist and former slave, Frederick Douglass (1817–1895), estimated at $50,000–70,000. Douglass had fled the United States in 1845 for fear of being taken up as a fugitive. Returning for the first time to America as a free man, Douglass here vividly describes his mistreatment during his return voyage aboard the Cambria, a pivotal experience in his life.
• An incredibly rare copy of the first federal copyright law signed in 1790 by Thomas Jefferson as the first United States Secretary of State, which laid the foundation of American copyright law, spurring 230 years of innovation and creating the framework for modern intellectual property law in the 21st century (est: $100,000–150,000).

The sale will also feature material related to exploration and travel literature including
• Thesaurus rei herbariae by Johann Wilhelm Weinmann (1683–1741), a German apothecary and botanist known his influential masterwork Phytanthoza iconographia (1737–45), which contained more than 1,000 hand-colored engravings of several thousand plants. Estimated at $40,000–60,000, this manuscript is a rare and valuable record of plants cultivated in the early 18th century, based on Weinmann’s own collection.
• Three rare photograph albums featuring the work of British photographer John Claude White (1853–1918), including the personal journal in photographs of his son-in-law Henry Hyslop during their expedition to the coronation of the King of Bhutan in 1907 (est: $30,000–40,000).


Newly Discovered Portrait of John Locke on View at London Art Week

Posted in Art Market by Editor on June 27, 2022

From the press release via Art Daily:

Miles Wynn Cato | British Art Rediscovered: Unseen Pictures, Untold Stories
London Art Week, 3–8 July 2022

Dr. Alexander Geekie, Portrait of John Locke, 1696, pastel on paper.

As part of London Art Week, British art dealer Miles Wynn Cato will present a remarkable selection of fourteen important discoveries, including a rare portrait of the English philosopher John Locke (1632–1704). Unrecorded since 1727, this fine pastel portrait was drawn from life by Dr Alexander Geekie (1655–1727), who was Locke’s doctor and friend, as well as a highly-accomplished amateur artist and art collector.

John Locke is widely acknowledged as one of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment and indeed, of all time. Locke’s ideas were also profoundly influential in the founding of the United States. Thomas Jefferson believed Locke to be one of “the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception.”

Archive letters between Locke and Dr Geekie reveal their close mutual regard, and in this superb personal portrayal, Geekie has managed to capture the essence of Locke’s character. The image is inscribed on the reverse, “Mr Lock by A Geekie, 1696,” and it is singled out for special mention in Geekie’s will. This discovery marks a significant addition to the iconography of John Locke. It is also very rare on the market, since almost all the other known portraits of John Locke are owned by public institutions.

This special selling exhibition British Art Rediscovered: Unseen Pictures, Untold Stories is held in conjunction with London Art Week. It will contain fourteen rediscovered paintings and drawings by some of Britain’s most important artists including Sir Thomas Lawrence, Thomas Jones, Angelica Kaufman, Joseph Wright of Derby, and Thomas Gainsborough (with Gainsborough remarkably represented by five rediscovered pictures).

• All of these artworks had been long lost, miscatalogued, or previously unrecorded.
• Each picture is also notable in the artist’s oeuvre for stylistic reasons or because the sitter or scene is exceptionally rare, such as the portrait of John Locke.
• The exhibition will include three paintings by early female artists, including a lost painting by Angelica Kauffman, RA.
• In two instances—Thomas Gainsborough and Thomas Lawrence—the image on view is one of the artist’s earliest known pictures to survive; so these significant new finds will shed fresh light on the early techniques of these outstanding artists.

This is a unique, limited opportunity to see these exciting new discoveries for the first time.

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