Lot 97
  • 97

Pierre-Antoine Demachy

100,000 - 150,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pierre-Antoine Demachy
  • Fantastical Architectural Studies with Figures
  • a pair, both signed lower left:  Demachy
  • both, oil on canvas


Anonymous sale, Paris, Christophe Joron-Derem, 29 June 2005, lot 22;
With Colnaghi's, London;
From whom acquired by the present owner.


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com , an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. These paintings have been recently restored and should be hung as is. The canvases have both been lined. The surfaces are even but not badly compromised by the linings. Under ultraviolet light retouches are visible which almost entirely deal with some of the cracking which was presumably thought to be slightly too noticeable. Retouches have been applied mainly in the sky of both pictures to soften the visual effects of the cracks. There is no abrasion or diminishment of the fine technique employed in both pictures.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

These delicate and ethereal paintings depict what appears to be the same grand country villa, first at a distance in profile and then closer up in cross-section.  Although generally Palladian in design, the many ornate sculptures and elaborate cornices and moldings that Demachy has added, give the structure an almost fantastical, fairy-tale air.  Although it is unclear whether these paintings were intended as actual studies for a building project or as architectural capriccios, the promenading figures and the bits of fallen stone, which dot the landscape in the cross-section image, seem to suggest the latter.  There are a few small architectural differences between the two structures (mainly in their sculptural ornamentation and the placement of the outdoor fountains); however, the similarities are so striking that one can be sure the artist intended to depict the same building.

Best remembered as a painter of architectural views and history scenes, Demachy studied under the painter and architect Servandoni before being accepted into the Academy in 1755.  He was appointed teacher of perspective in 1786 and, like his contemporary Hubert Robert, was keenly interested in the dramatic and rapid architectural changes occurring in Paris during the final years of the monarchy and early years of the Revolution.  He recorded many of these alterations in works such as The Demolition of Saints Innocents, Paris (formerly with Cailleux, Paris) and The Clearing of the Colonnade du Louvre (formerly in the Karl Lagerfeld Collection).  Today, these works and other similar paintings and drawings from the period serve  as an important source of information that aid in historical reconstructions of the city.