L uxury, opulence and exquisite craftmanship are synonymous with great 19th century French furniture. They are also hallmarks of the collection of Adrian Alan, one of the world’s leading dealers for the finest decorative arts and sculpture from this period. A household name and a much-respected figure on the London antiques scene, Adrian Alan has carefully selected 108 works for sale at Sotheby’s which epitomize the diversity, richness and taste that embody his renowned gallery.
Since opening in 1964, the Adrian Alan gallery, now located in Mayfair, has been the ultimate destination for collectors, decorators and lovers of the best Parisian furniture, which was created for the great international fairs and collected by discerning amateurs to furnish lavish homes during the joyous days of the Belle Epoque.
This sale shows Adrian’s eclectic and exquisite eye, offering the public a chance to enter the opulent world of his gallery at a variety of price points and an unique opportunity to acquire high-quality works personally chosen by Adrian during his outstanding half-a-century career.
Highlights Exhibition: 24-27 October 2020, New Bond St, London, 10am-5pm.
This exotic pair of candélabre epitomizes the flawless quality French furniture makers like the Beurdeleys reached in the second half 19th century. Here, Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley revisits the perfection in design, meticulous chiselling and rich gilding created for the Comte d’Artois’ Turkish boudoir at Versailles by François Rémond in 1782.
Adrian Alan has had a key role in re-kindling the market for François Linke’s furniture which led to a further academic recognition of his genius and legacy. Some of the most important works created by Linke passed through his gallery on their way to join important international collections.
Included in the sale, a vitrine by this superb ébéniste and entrepreneur epitomizes “le style Linke” and his partnership with the gifted designer and sculptor Leon Messagé. Together, they broke away from the tradition of pure emulation and reinvented the Rococo spirit with challenging, surprising and fascinating new furniture models, with unsurpassed quality of craftmanship.
Clocks have always been a passion for Adrian Alan and the dozen lots selected for this sale show the diversity of his interests, underlined by their high quality and unusual materials. With the pace of life increasing significantly in the 19th century, clocks were a constant reminder to use time wisely but also key decorative features of any interior, becoming consequently fertile creative ground for designers and clockmakers.
Sculpture was central to the 19th century aesthetic. The beginning of the century saw huge technical advances particularly in the production of bronzes in Frances, whilst in Italy sculptors achieved feats of technical virtuosity rivalled only by Bernini in the 17th century. Adrian Alan is renowned for his sensitive and scholarly appreciation of 19th century sculpture. Pio Fedi, whose putto is offered in this auction, was one of the last great academic Italian sculptors; his Pyrrhus and Polyxena is one of the stars of the Loggia dei Lanzi alongside masterpieces by Cellini and Giambologna. Raoul Larche’s ‘Orestes' Sorrow’ is an exemplar of the last flourishing of 19th century sculpture and represents a more modern conception of the male nude.