Biennale des Antiquaires 2017: Three Private Collections

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To mark the 2017 Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris, Sotheby’s France is presenting three private collections of fine furniture, paintings and works of art: the Collection of Prince Marc de Beauvau-Craon; a collection of fine 18th-century French decorative arts called L’Élégance Intemporelle; and an Italian collection illustrating the deep artistic bonds between France and Italy. An exhibition featuring highlights from the three collections has been curated by Galerie Aveline’s Marella Rossi and will be on display at Galerie Charpentier from 10–13 September. You are invited to click on the slideshow to see a selection of highlights from the three sales.

L’Élégance Intemporelle, Paris, Rive-Gauche
14 September 2017 | Paris

De la collection du Prince Marc de Beauvau-Craon, Paris
15 September 2017 | Paris

Paris-Rome : une Alliance Artistique
15 September 2017 | Paris

Biennale des Antiquaires 2017: Three Private Collections

  • A Carved Neoclassical White Marble, Green Granite and Micro-Mosaic Chimney Piece, Rome, circa 1778-1780. The chimneypiece attributed to Lorenzo Cardelli, the micromosaic panels attributed to Cesare Aguatti.
    Estimate €150,000–300,000.
    From Paris-Rome: Une Alliance Artistique.
    Of refined architectural form, sobriety in colour and linear decoration, this chimneypiece is a tribute to the neoclassical taste and design of the late eighteenth century, when Rome became the production centre for fireplaces for European aristocracy.

  • Charles-Joseph Natoire (Nimes 1700 - 1777 Castel Gandolfo), Personnages se reposant aupres d’une fontaine. Charles-Joseph Natoire, La Pêche. Oil on canvas.
    Estimate €300,000–500,000.
    From Paris-Rome: Une Alliance Artistique.
    Commissioned by Louis XV for the castle of Fontainebleau and filled with an elegance inherited from Watteau, Natoire here presents one of the motifs - the gallant figure supporting the cavalier. The characters in our compositions meander through a contemplative landscape, the result of a sensitive observation by an artist still mesmerised by the Italy which he had recently left. With this series of canvases directly painted for the King of France at Fontainebleau, Charles-Joseph Natoire (1700–1777) presents these masterpieces in his full maturity as an artist, as well as a true example of the flourishing paintings of the 18th century.

  • A pair of rococo carved giltwood and painted banquettes, Nicola Carletti, Rome, 1768–1769.
    Estimate €35,000–50,000.
    From Paris-Rome: Une Alliance Artistique.
    This pair of banquettes relates to the accomplished suite of Roman rococo furniture delivered by Nicola Carletti to Cardinal Flavio II Chigi (1711–1771) in 1768–70 for his villa built on the Salaria. The banquettes represent a newly found balance in Roman rococo furniture, with naturalistic elements asymmetrically adorning a boldly carved scrolled giltwood body. Distinguished by the absence of seat-backs, this kind of furniture is typical of mid-18th century interiors, and was to be found in boudoirs in both palaces and villas.

  • An Italian gilt-bronze framed mosaic panel, Rome, by the Vatican Mosaic Workshop, circa 1835-1845.
    Estimate €40,000–70,000.
    From Paris-Rome: Une Alliance Artistique.
    Clearly inspired by classical Roman mosaic emblemata, this exquisite panel was commissioned from the Vatican Mosaic Studio by Pope Gregorius XVI (1765–1846), who reigned as Pope from 1831 until his death in 1846. This was most likely a gift for a high dignitary, such as a foreign diplomat. It seems to depict Greek goddesses Tyche, who ruled the fortune and prosperity of a city, and Athena, deity of wisdom, courage and war.

  • A pair of mercury-gilt-bronze candelabra, the bronze figures after a design by Etienne Maurice Falconet, the gilt-bronze elements after François Rémond, late Louis XVI, late 18th/early 19th century.
    Estimate €60,000–100,000.
    From De la collection du Prince Marc de Beauvau-Craon, Paris.
    Commissioned by Madame de Pompadour in 1755, the model for L'Amour menaçant in the guise of Cupid was first produced in marble and exhibited at the Salon of 1757, and mentioned in the brochure for the Salon of 1761 as, "130, a marble figure representing a cupid; belonging to Madame the Marquise de Pompadour". The model for the Nymph or Little Girl hiding Cupid's bow, or perhaps Psyche, was never produced in marble by Falconet, although this model was mentioned in the brochure for the Salon of 1761. The latter, however, was executed as a pendant for L'Amour menaçant, a popular theme during the 18th century in which Cupid captures the hearts of mortals and leads them at his will. Whilst these two groups were widely produced in porcelain by Sèvres and Wedgwood, they were also fashioned in bronze, as seen in the present pair of candelabra .

  • An important French, 18th century, equestrian bronze group of Louis XIV, after Etienne Le Hongre (1628–1690).
    Estimate €80,000–120,000.
    From De la collection du Prince Marc de Beauvau-Craon, Paris.
    Dating back to the ancient statue of Marcus Aurelius in the Capitoline Museums in Rome, equestrian monuments glorifying the sovereign have been a recurring theme in European sculpture. Between 1685 and 1686, at the height of Louis XIV's power, a vast propaganda campaign was launched to erect an equestrian statue of him on the central squares of France's ten largest cities. The monuments were Louvois's initiative, and he entrusted the King's chief architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart (1646–1708) to direct the project. Only five were eventually made: one by François Girardon for the Place Louis-le-Grand in Paris (now Place Vendôme), and those by Antoine Coysevox in Rennes, Martin Desjardins in Lyon, Pierre Mazeline and Simon Hurtrelle in Montpellier and Etienne Le Hongre in Dijon.

  • A pair of patinated and gilt bronze candelabra with Silenus and Bacchante, Louis XVI style, 19th century, after a design by François Rémond.
    Estimate €30,000–50,000.
    From De la collection du Prince Marc de Beauvau-Craon, Paris.
    The design for this model is housed in the Musée des arts Décoratifs in Paris. Probably created around 1785 by François Rémond (1747–1812) using similar figures to those by Clodion, and stylistically updated by the same bronze artist at the beginning of the 19th century. It was reproduced several times during Louis XVI's reign and then under the French Empire, and today we find copies in the Louvre, the Château of Fontainebleau and Buckingham Palace. The model continued to enjoy great popularity during the 19th century and was produced by merchants such as the Beurdeleys and Samson Wertheimer. The Rothschild collections of Waddesdon Manor have two pairs made in France or England during the 19th century.

  • A gilt-bronze mounted kingwood commode, early Louis XV, attributed to the Maître aux Pagodes.
    Estimate €120,000–180,000.
    From L’Élégance Intemporelle, Paris, Rive-Gauche.
    Alexander Pradere deserves the credit for the attribution to these pieces of furniture to a cabinetmaker whom he nicknames "the Master of Pagodas" due to certain recurring Chinoiserie motifs in his bronzes. Our commode is part of this ensemble ascribed to him, realized in the years 1730-1745, and is illustrated several times in his article on the cabinetmaker in the French decorative arts magazine, L'Estampille L'Objet d'Art.

  • A large gilt-bronze mounted Chinese blue powder porcelain covered vase, the porcelain first half of the 18th century, the mounts probably German, circa 1740-1745, marked with the crowned C.
    Estimate €120,000–180,000.
    From L’Élégance Intemporelle, Paris, Rive-Gauche.
    In the 1740s, trade between China and Europe flourished, notably concerning the importation of porcelains: monochromatic porcelains, such as the one with a dark blue ground, were much sought after by decorative art dealers, to satisfy their clientele in perpetual quest for novelty. The intense blue colour of this porcelain makes it possible to date it from the first half of the 18th century, perhaps at the end of the Kangxi period (1662–1723), the Yongzheng period (1723–1735), or the beginning of the Qianlong period (1736–1795).

  • Louis Carrogis dit Carmontelle, Self portrait of the artist.
    Estimate €20,000–30,000.
    From L’Élégance Intemporelle, Paris, Rive-Gauche.
    This drawing is very revealing of the singular person that Carmontelle was, as the artist for once turns his acute observational eye on himself. He has placed himself out of doors, perhaps on the terraces in Saint Cloud where he had sketched many Court subjects. He is seated by a delicate table on a simple chair typical of the furniture of the period, and we imagine well the manner in which Carmontelle relocated his convenient studio to realize these portraits, within these large portfolios resting here on the leather surface. Using first the red chalk ('sanguine') pencil that we see on the left for the underlying drawing, he then contrasted the outline with graphite pencil before applying watercolour washes throughout (making use, no doubt, of the water vessel that stands near his right hand). 

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