The Dillée Collection achieved a total of € 10.2 million, with 93% of lots sold, 99% in value and 65% above the high estimate. Following a five-day exhibition which drew over 2,500 visitors, the sale of the private collection of the Dillée family opened to a packed salesroom on 18 March at the Galerie Charpentier. Almost 500 people registered to bid in this historic auction of 17th- and 18th-century French decorative arts, which attracted bids from collectors across the globe..
The sale was led by a Louis XVI pair of patinated and gilt-bronze wall lights with the Royal French coat of arms, which soared to €1,143,000 - a new auction record for any wall lights of any period (est. €200,000-300,000). A magnificent pair of ewers in crackled celadon and gilt bronze from the French Regency period realised the second highest price in the sale, selling for €819,000 (est. €400,000-600,000).
Mario Tavella, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and Chairman of Private European Collections: “This was one of the most thrilling collections I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Apart from the aura of the name of Dillée, the beauty of the works and the encouraging estimates, I hope it was also the presentation of the collection that helped inspire new collectors in our saleroom this week”
For three generations, the Dillée family name has been significant on the French art market. Bernard, Jean-Pierre and, more recently, Guillaume have all placed their expertise at the disposal of collectors, auction houses and museums. They have collected a wide variety of objects, from mounted and gilt-bronze items, to bronze and terracotta statues, but always with a preference for the 18th century and distinguished provenances. As professionals they are renowned for their knowledge and expertise, but it is as keen collectors that they gathered the furniture, objects, paintings and drawings to be offered in our forthcoming auction taking place on 18-19 March in Paris. The sale will include over 450 lots and will be divided into three sessions, with a mix of scientific objects, French decorative arts of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, old master paintings and drawings, bronze animal sculptures and hunting weapons.
The predominantly 18th-century furniture, decorative objects, paintings and drawings demonstrate an exquisite and precise taste founded on knowledge and refinement. The collection is extraordinary for having been accumulated over three generations, each conscious of both the heritage of the previous and of its own vision for the transmission of knowledge and taste. These charming, rare and unusual objects were only appreciated and coveted by enthusiasts; they are not flamboyant nor pretentious as their main purpose was to share the daily life and the decor of the person who found and chose them. These objects are a concrete representation of that transmission of knowledge and a reflection of family’s tradition and shared passion for hunting, the French 18th century and its art de vivre through the generations.