Lot 11
  • 11

Gustave Miklos

250,000 - 350,000 EUR
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  • Gustave Miklos
  • Deux bêtes affrontées, 1925
  • gilt bronze and enamel
  • Each sculpture : 23 x 37,7 x 13 cm ; 9 x 14 7/8 x 5 1/8 in.
polychrome gilt bronze
Both signed G. Miklos twice, dated 1925 and with foundry mark Cire Perdue C. Valsuani on the feet


Jacques Doucet, Neuilly-sur-Seine, acquired directly from the artist
Maîtres Audap, Godeau and Solanet, Paris, Ancienne Collection Jacques Doucet, Mobilier Art Déco, Provenant du Studio Saint-James à Neuilly, November 8, 1972, lot 16


Paris, Galerie La Renaissance, Gustave Miklos, May 4 - May 15, 1928
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Cinquantenaire de l'Exposition de 1925, October 15, 1976 - February 2, 1977
Bordeaux, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Bordeaux années 20-30, De Paris à l'Aquitaine, October 24, 2008 - January 29, 2009


Catalogue des oeuvres de Gustave Miklos, Galerie La Renaissance, exhibition catalogue, May 4 - May 15, 1928, n. 15
Giulia Veronesi, Style 1925, triomphe et chute des "Arts-Déco", Lausanne, 1968, illustrated n. 208
Gustave Miklos, exhibition catalogue, Galerie l'Enseigne du Cerceau, Paris, October 25 - November 30, 1972, n.p.
Alain Lesieutre, The Spirit and Splendour of Art Deco, New York, 1976, illustrated pp. 36-37
Cinquantenaire de l'Exposition de 1925, exhibition catalogue, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, October 15, 1976 - February 2, 1977, n. 193
Gustave Miklos, exhibition catalogue, Centre culturel Aragon, Oyonnax,  December 20, 1983 – January 29, 1984, p. 14
François Baudot, "Jacques Doucet, Protecteur et mécène des artistes de son temps", Beaux-Arts, March 1985, illustrated p. 62
Bordeaux années 20-30, De Paris à l'Aquitaine, exhibition catalogue, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Bordeaux, October 24, 2008 - January 29, 2009, illustrated p. 122, n. 135
Félix Marcilhac, Gustave Miklos, Joseph Csaky, Budapest, 2010, illustrated pp. 24 and  25
Alastair Duncan, Art Déco, Encyclopédie des arts décoratifs des années vingt et trente, Paris, 2010, illustrated p. 122
Jacques Doucet - Yves Saint Laurent, vivre pour l'Art, exhibition catalogue, Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, Paris, October 15, 2015 - February 14, 2016, illustrated p. 35


Good overall condition. Light surface scratches throughout both pieces and a few minor scattered dents. Light traces of oxidation throughout the pieces with minor wear to the gilt and several dirt stains scattered, gilt seems dirty but haven't been cleaned. The polychrome highlights have been re-painted at a later stage in the history of the piece. The original layer is almost entirely gone as visible in the 1972 Doucet sale catalogue's illustration and the remnants are flaked underneath under the later one. Visible on the printed catalogue cover and on the catalogue illustration. Some traces of glue remnants on the underside of the feet and on the bottom edges of the pieces.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Gustave Miklos (1888-1967) met Jacques Doucet (1853-1929) in the early 1920s. The Hungarian sculptor had moved to France in 1909. During the war, he enlisted voluntarily and was sent to Thessaloniki where he discovered the rich decorative ornamentation and colours of byzantine art that would mark his works after he returned in 1919. Jean Guiffey accurately described the profound impact of this experience on the sculptor's career in La Renaissance de l’Art Français in January 1928: “He was fortunate to be noticed by Mr Jacques Doucet, whose tremendous encouragement allowed him to find his way and the means to produce some of his finest works".

The fashion designer soon began to commission numerous objects and sculptures from him. He lent several of the thirty or so works displayed at the Miklos exhibition at La Renaissance gallery in 1928: two amethyst rock crystal lamps, one purple and one green (n. 12 and 13), a black and white granite dish with two bronze animal handles (n. 14), our two Bêtes Affrontées (n. 15) and a silver bird over a mother-of-pearl dish (n. 17). He also prefaced the exhibition catalogue with a message of praise and of friendship: “My dear Miklos, I am happy to say how fondly I admire your talent. I was one of the first to savour the delights of your byzantine modernism. Your friend, Jacques Doucet".

Among the sculptor's other pieces, Doucet also owned the rock crystal obelisk now housed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Inv. No 85.329) and the pair of palm wood and red lacquered bronze bench seats that were part of Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s collection.

When the exhibition closed, all of Miklos's works were sent to the Studio House at 33 rue Saint-James in Neuilly to which Doucet moved in August 1928. The collector had begun renovating the interior in 1926 and furnished it with works by innovative artists like Pierre Legrain, Marcel Coard, Rose Adler, Eileen Gray and Etienne Cournault. Their works are as impressive as the couturier's exceptional collection of paintings and sculptures.

The only known document showing our two Bêtes Affrontées on display in the Studio House is an archive photograph (see opposite). Our sculptures appear on a Pierre Legrain console that is now part of the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (Inv. No 38154), next to a curule seat now at the Musée Angladon in Avignon (Inv. No 1996.A.103) and a round coffee table also by Legrain. Works by Chaïm Soutine, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Alfred Sisley hang on the walls, while a Miklos rug covers the floor (Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, Inv. No 38161). Doucet had little time to enjoy this exceptional collection and died in 1929, the same year that Gustave Miklos co-founded the Union of Modern Artists and began a new phase in his career.