S otheby’s bi-annual auction - Style: Silver, Furniture, Ceramics - offers a wide range of European and English decorative arts including tapestries, rugs, clocks, silver and vertu, ceramics, and furniture.
The sale this season is led by private collections, including Property from a Distinguished Private Collection, Washington, D.C - an eclectic group of Baroque and Neoclassical furniture sourced from leading New York and Paris dealers; and Property from a Private Manhattan Collection - an elegant selection of French and Continental furniture from a Manhattan townhouse transformed by Architect William T. Georgis. The sale also features a group from a Private Greenwich, Connecticut Collection, formed of a good selection of Mintons pâte-sur-pâte and Royal Copenhagen ‘Flora Danica’; and a nice selection of Vertu from the Collection of a Connoisseur.
Property from a Distinguished Private Collection, Washington, D.C.
This splendid offering of European furniture and decorative arts spanning from the Italian Baroque to Louis XVI and English Regency were meticulously selected by an American couple over three decades of international travel. They filled their stunning Beaux Arts townhome in Washington, D.C. with works evocative of the drama and splendor of an Italian palazzo- large, substantial paintings complemented by a compelling selection of furniture and decorative arts. Through early partnership with Juan Pablo Molyneux and guidance from the curators at the National Gallery of Art, their rooms were assembled by analyzing museum exhibitions and strolling through the myriad palazzi of Rome. They regarded Italian furniture as overall “often more gutsy than French, to them, and more interesting.” Their home, like the historic palazzi of Italian cities, became a place where furniture, decorative arts, paintings and sculpture collected over multiple generations and stylistic periods blended harmoniously in a tasteful and resplendent manner.
“The pâte-sur-pâte painting of Monsieur Solon completely places in the shade anything from the Royal Manufactory… All the sculpture and relief magnificently works out, and the perfect transparency of the figures, is rivalled by nothing from Sèvres.”
Marc Louis Emmanuel Solon (1835-1913) established his career as a ceramic designer at the manufacture nationale de Sèvres where he was employed in 1858. As a student of Art he attended the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris where he came to the attention of the Art Director of the factory. It is here at Sèvres that Solon experimented with a technique which became known as pâte-sur-pâte, or ‘paste-on-paste’, the complicated and expensive process of creating relief decoration by building layers of liquid clay-slip. Solon worked at Sèvres until the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 which forced him to emigrate for the Potteries of Staffordshire. It was at the Minton manufactory that Solon perfected his pâte-sur-pâte skill. The in-vogue method of pâte-sur-pâte was practiced throughout the ceramic centers of Europe, including Limoges, Sevres, Meissen in the late 19th century.