Lot 101
  • 101

ANTO CARTE | Le Clown rouge

100,000 - 150,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Anto Carte
  • Le Clown rouge 
  • gouache and ink on paper laid down on cardboard
  • 81,2 x 60 cm; 32 x 23 5/8 in.


Mr. R. Altenloh, Belgium
Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, November 22, 1999, lot 86
Private collection, Paris


Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts (probably)


It has not been possible to see the work entirely unframed. Executed on cream wove paper, laid down on cardboard. The lower edge of the paper is slightly scuffed and out of the cardboard. Examination under UV light reveals no evidence of retouching. There are a few flattened creases (the longest of which is approx. 7 cm) in places, consistent with the laying down process, notably towards the centre of the lower edge and to the upper part of the right edge. There is a U shaped tear with associated paint loss to the clown's proper right foot. There is a paper loss to the upper left corner. There is some frame abrasion along the extreme edges with associated tiny paper losses. There are some scattered superficial surface scratches. This work is in overall good condition.
"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

The Painting of Anto Carte: A Private Passion

Our autumn auction pays tribute to Belgium with a collection of nine works by the iconic painter Anto Carte (1886-1954) who, for some years now, has been setting Parisian auction houses alight with two recent records: Le Pain, 1921 (516,500 EUR, March 2019) and Bénédicité, 1921 (459,000 EUR, June 2016). This collection comes from a family of art lovers who acquired this collection of the artist’s work over many years. In their eyes, it transcends trends, lying between modernity and decorative art.
As a humanist painter dedicated to the human condition, Anto Carte was a member of the “Belgian Imagists" group alongside Valerius de Saedeleer and Gustave van de Woestyne, with whom he exhibited in Paris in 1923. Precision of line was a characteristic feature of the work of this artist who would go on to found the Groupe Nervia (1928-1938), along with the painter Louis Buisseret and the art insurer Léon Eeckman. This group, led by the older members Anto Carte and Louis Buisseret, but also by Pierre Paulus and Rodolphe Strebelle, aimed to support young artists from the province of Hainaut (Frans Depooter, Leon Devos, Leon Navez, Taf Wallet and Jean Winance) and promote and encourage the appreciation of Walloon art, often overshadowed by Flemish Expressionism.
The collection up for auction comprises five oil paintings, including some major works that reflect the artist’s spirit as well as all the trends that were dear to the great Walloon painter who settled early on in Brussels to teach at La Cambre, among other places: the lives of peasants and sailors (Le Batelier et la Sirène, undated, and Le Haleur, 1914), street performers and shows (Les Musiciens aveugles, 1927; Le Clown rouge, undated; Les Musiciens ambulants, 1925; Le Joueur de Viole, 1926, Allégorie des Arts, 1937), childhood and the figure of the mother (Maternité, 1927 and Souvenir de Lerici, 1932).
In addition to these works, which come from a family with such a keen eye for timeless art that is impervious to trends and currents, there is a series of pieces marked by a fantastical, dreamlike and decorative element. Among these are some intriguing images by the Belgian artist Emile Salkin (1900-1977), a friend of Paul Delvaux’s who painted many skeletons with him. Between art deco, metaphysics and surrealism, there are some astonishing oil paintings by Mariano Andreu (1888-1976) and Odette Marie Pauvert (1903-1966), in which religious connotations abound. The set would not be complete without the disconcerting compositions by Daniel Sabater y Salabert (1888-1951) and Ferdinand Max Bredt (1868-1921), which follow in the tradition of Henry Fuseli and Arnold Böcklin, further enhancing this private collection. Though the collection may appear traditional on the surface, it provides a window into the strange and wonderful.