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World record for Jean-Etienne Liotard: Portrait of Mademoiselle Jacquet sold for $1,853,509
Jean Etienne Liotard, Portrait of Mademoiselle Jacquet. Photo: Sotheby's.

PARIS.- With a total of €7.2 million ($9 million), Thursday’s sale of Old Master & 19th Century Paintings & Drawings at Sotheby’s Paris achieved one of the highest-ever totals for a sale in the field organized by Sotheby’s France, yielding five record prices and reflecting strong market demand for high quality works.

Amongst the Old Masters, it was 18th century French paintings which enjoyed the greatest success with several remarkable prices, led by €1,464,750 ($1.853.509)– a world record for the artist – for Portrait of Mademoiselle Jacquet (1748-52), a rediscovered pastel by Jean-Etienne Liotard. The appearance on the market of a masterpiece of this importance constituted a major event, and seven international bidders locked horns before it was knocked down to an American collector (lot 57).

Another outstanding lot in the first part of the sale was François Boucher’s The Landscape Painter, a rare youthful work of great distinction, which sold for €876,750 ($1.109.448) to set a new record price for Boucher in France (lot 52).

A previously unpublished version of The Bird Trap by Pieter Brueghel the Younger sold to a Russian private collector for €684,750 ($866.489), the sale’s third-highest price (lot 13). With its painterly finesse, structured composition, refined draughtsmanship, delicate brushwork and tonal subtlety this counts as one of the finest versions of one of Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s most popular subjects.

Highlight of the sale’s 19th Century Paintings & Drawings was a study of an Arab Chief in watercolour, pencil and red chalk, made by Eugène Delacroix during his stay in Morocco in 1832. It sold well clear of its €150,000* high-estimate for €288,750 ($289.463) (lot 100).

Results for landscapes by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot reflected the unfailing market interest in his work. Seven Corots were offered, all consigned from private French collections, and all but one found takers. The two in keenest demand, Une Guinguette à Vaugirard and a panoramic view of Rouen with the River Seine in the foreground, each fetched €66,750 ($84.398) (lot 109 & 110).

Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-89)
Portrait of Mademoiselle Louise Jacquet (1748-52), pastel
€1,464,750 /$1.853.509

François Boucher (1703-70)
The Landscape Painter, oil on canvas
€876,750 /$1.109.448

Christian-Georg Schüz (1718-91)
View of Frankfurt (1754), oil on canvas
€120,750 / $152.676

Jacob van Loo
Venus & Adonis, oil on canvas
€96,750 / $122.331

Louis Vigée
Woman Dressed as a Pilgrim (1745), pastel
€84,750 / $107.158

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June 24, 2012

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