Our 9 May sale brought $16.5 million. Leading the auction was Marie-François Firmin-Girard's Le Quai aux Fleurs, whose price was driven to $3 million by multiple determined bidders, reaching over six times its estimate. This expansive, panoramic work propelled the artist to international fame upon its submission to the Salon of 1876. The cover lot of the catalogue, Bonhomme venant de peindre sa barrière (Man Having Just Painted His Fence) by Raffaëlli, surpassed expectations, bringing $1.5 million, over its estimate of $1 million. This extraordinary image is one of the masterpieces of Raffaëlli's career and comes from an Important Private American Collection. All results are now available online.
Our 19th Century European Art sale features both iconic, well-known works and new discoveries which, together, point to the diversity of the category. Highlights include masterpieces from an Important American Collection, including Jean-François Raffaëlli’s Bonhomme venant de peindre sa barrière (Man Having Just Painted His Fence) and Gustave Courbet’s Deux bateaux sur la plage. This impressive canvas by Courbet is one of an extraordinary group by the artist consigned by various owners, including Mademoiselle Jacquet, La Laitière de Saintonge, and Falaises d’Étretat. The sale also features Jean-Léon Gérôme’s dramatic Cléopâtre et César.
This season’s sale reveals a number of masterworks that have not been seen or exhibited in many decades. Marie-François Firmin-Girard’s Le Quai aux Fleurs and John William Godward’s When the Heart is Young are but a few examples of many.
We thank Brame & Lorenceau for confirming the authenticity of this work (based on a digital image) which is included in their computerized catalogue critique now in preparation.
This work is included in Brame & Lorenceau's Jean-François Raffaëlli computerized catalogue critique now in preparation.
Please note this work is oil on canvas and measures 17 by 11 3/4 in. (43.8 by 29.8 cm)
Please note: the proper title of this work is The Captivity of the Jews in Babylon. It was most likely Comerre's entry for the Prix de Rome of 1873. Though catalogued as a "Flight into Egypt" in past auctions, the iconography of the captives of all ages and genders, many in family groups, the dropped lyre and flowing Babylon river are all linked to Psalm 137, expressing the sorrow of the Jewish people in exile following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem. The motif was popular throughout the nineteenth century for both Prix de Rome and less prestigious competitions. The scale and high quality of finish of the present work suggests Comerre's painting was intended to impress both exhibition judges and audience.
For the complete and updated catalouge note please refer to Sothebys.com
We thank Alexandra Murphy for providing additional catalouge information.
This Lot has been withdrawn from the sale.
Please note the additional literature: Jehan-Georges Vibert, La Comédie en Peinture, vol. 1, London and New York, 1902, pp. 255-6, illustrated p. 254
Please note the additional exhibition information: Paris, École des Beaux Arts, 1875, no. 362 (as Cerf et biche: ébauche)
We thank Béatrice Tupinier Barrillon for providing additional catalogue information for this work which will be included in her forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the paintings and watercolors of Antoine-Louis Barye.