Christie’s Paris, May 18, 2022 at 2:30 p.m..
Ahead of the Salon du Dessin, which will be held from May 18 to 23, the auction house Christie’s will present its sale dedicated to the old masters which will be animated by an original drawing by Michelangeloexceptional work, one of the few of Michelangelo still in private hands.
The Old Masters sale will highlight a set of drawings, paintings and sculptures carefully selected by our specialist. Major artists like Théodore Géricault, Elisabeth Louise, Vigée le Brun whose painting has not been seen on the market since 1847, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, and Nicolas de Largillierre will be staged and will establish a dialogue with the masters of drawing, such as Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Charles Natoire and Jean Antoine Watteau.
The medium of sculpture will be represented with, in particular, a splendid pyxis, enamellers such as Pierre Veyrier II, Jean II Penicaud and Leonard Limosin. The works will be exhibited alongside the new creations of the interior designer Hugo Torro. The sale includes 264 lots for an overall estimate of between €6 and €9 million.
The department of old and 19th century drawings will be particularly highlighted with the sale of the rediscovery of the drawing by MichelangeloA naked man (after Masaccio) and two characters behind, but also through a selection of a hundred sheets under the common theme of rediscovery.
They begin in the 17th century, with three unpublished drawings by Martin Freminet (1567-1619), emblematic painter of the Fontainebleau Schoolentitled Sketch for the Ceiling with an Allegorical Figure of Faith (€70,000-100,000, ill. left), Study for a Biblical King (€20,000-30,000) and Medallion with Two Harpies and Garlands (€7,000- €10,000).
These studies, rendered in graphite and brown wash, are preparatory sketches for the painted decoration of the Chapel of the Trinity at the Château de Fontainebleau.
The French school will be very well represented by artists such as Charles de La Fosse (1636-1716), Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732-1806) Charles Natoire, Jean-Antoine Watteau (1732-1806) including red chalk representing a Couple walking in a landscape (estimate: €100,000-150,000) and Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805) with another beautiful ink and wash representing the march of Silenus (€30,000-50,000, ill. p. 1). The drawing comes from the collections of Vincent Donjeux (1793), Baron Charles of Veze (1855), and Francois Walferdin (1860).
The Department of Ancient Paintings will present beautiful rediscoveries, such as a charming portrait of a child by the artist Jacques Joseph André Aved (1702-1766) which perfectly illustrates the sometimes deeply intimate art of portraiture in the 18th century.
This drawing, called ‘The Drawer’, also bears witness to the close artistic ties between the painter With and his friend, Jean Simeon Chardin (1699-1779). Coming straight from the artist’s descendants, this painting will be sold for the first time since its creation. Estimated at €150,000-250,000, it will be presented with another important work from the same collection.
Another highlight of the painting section is a rare oil on canvas by Nicolas de Largillierre (1646-1756), whose religious subject gives pride of place to the artist’s corpus. This Saint Barthélemy (circa 1710), with naturalistic features and bathed in divine light, was only attributed to the artist in 2003 by Dominica Bremenon the occasion of the exhibition at Jacquemart-André museum in Paris.
The latter is recognized in our painting of one of the apostles who decorated the elegant Parisian residence of the painter rue Geoffroy-l’Angevin. It is estimated between 60,000 and 80,000 €.
Finally, with a distinguished provenance that includes Delacroix’s personal collection, as well as of Prince Napoleon and the Elie de Rothschild collection, a portrait of a soldier entitled Lancer of the 1st Regiment of Chevau-Léger-Lanciers of the Guard, known as Polonais by Theodore Gericault (1791-1824) will be among the exceptional works in this sale (estimate €80,000-100,000).
We find there some of the themes dear to the artist and which announce romanticism, such as horses, battle scenes, soldiers; themes that celebrate the artist’s ideals of freedom, heroism and wonder.
Alexandre Mordret-Isambert, a new sculpture specialist in Paris, will highlight a high-quality selection, including a rare liturgical object executed in Limoges during the second half of the 13th century, a Virgin and Child forming a pyxis. No equivalent is known in museums or private collections.
The sculpture, in a very good state of conservation, has remained out of sight since the Universal Exhibition of 1900 where it was presented.
The pyxis comes from prestigious collections: first the Frederic Spitzer collection (1815-1890), then the Victor Martin LeRoy collection (1842-1918), then by descent to his daughter Joanwoman of Jean-Joseph Marquet de Vasselot (1871-1946), curator at the Louvre then director of the Cluny museum, great art historian and major collector of works of art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
In November 2011, Christie’s sold 24 works of the Marquet Vasselot collection, including a sculpted ivory group representing the enthroned Virgin and Child for €6,337,000. The family still kept this treasure. Many objects from the collection are now in museums, including the Louvre and Cluny.