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Sotheby's Paris announces details of its Old Master & 19th Century Paintings & Drawings Sale
Louise Moillon: Still Life with Peaches on a Ledge. Estimate: €250,000-350,000/$324,000-454,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

PARIS.- Sotheby’s announced details of the forthcoming Sale of Old Master & 19th Century Paintings & Drawings to be held in Paris on 27 June 2013. The French 17th & 18th Century Schools will be particularly well represented among the 164 selected lots, led by a spectacular still life by Louise Moillon, one of the first French still lifes ever painted; Le Bal de Tivoli, a remarkable work by François Watteau de Lille; and a Portrait of Jean-René Vestier by the sitter's father. Sotheby's will also be offering two splendid paintings from the Collection of Dr Joseph Récamier: a Portrait of Madame de Pompadour by Drouais; and a marvellous genre scene by Louis-Léopold Boilly. The high-pedigree sale also features Flemish and Dutch works – notably a large, panelled view of Noah's Ark by Jacob Savery the Younger.

The second part of the sale, devoted to the 19th Century, includes a sumptuous array of French paintings and drawings, with a series of landscapes by Courbet, Trouillebert, Lépine, Diaz and Daubigny consigned from French private collections. Four Delacroix drawings and a major Courbet drawing – a portrait thought to be of his companion Virginie Binet – complete the section.

Old Masters
Noah's Ark by Jacob Savery the Younger (1593-after 1627) offers a crowded, spectacular version of the Old Testament scene, in the tradition of 16th and 17th century Flemish painting. Savery hailed from a family of landscape and animal painters –something which helped spread his fame across Europe (est. €120,000-180,000/$156,000-234,000).*

The Old Masters section also includes a magnificent Portrait of a Man on a Green Ground by Corneille de La Haye 'of Lyon' (1500/10–1575), a Dutch artist born in The Hague, but who moved to Lyon by 1533, receiving the title of Peintre du Dauphin and enjoying the privileges of a French crown official, despite living away from the capital. His works stand out for their precise forms, outlines and expressions, worthy of a miniaturist – allied to brushwork of Impressionistic freedom (est. €150,000-200,000/$195,000-260,000).

Another remarkable portrait shows Jean-René Vestier at the age of 10, painted by his father. This soft, gentle image suggests the father was very close to his son; Vestier painted the portrait in 1788 to perpetuate his son's memory a decade after his death. It is one of the most moving works the artist ever painted (est. €60,000-80,000/$78,000-104,000).

Still Life with Peaches on a Ledge (1629) – the first known, signed and dated work by Louise Moillon (1610-96) – displays dazzling sensitivity and intensity, even though Moillon was only 19 when she painted it. The peaches are conveyed with astonishing realism, as if they have just been picked and still have flecks of dust on their downy skin. The painting has been kept in the same French private collection for nearly seventy years (est. €250,000-350,000/$324,000-454,000).

The sale includes a highly refined ensemble of works by French, Italian, Flemish and Dutch artists; main themes include festivities, concerts and female elegance.

Le Bal de Tivoli by François Watteau de Lille (1758-1823) is dated An VII (1799), and perfectly reflects the radical change in society after The Terror (est. €100,000-150,000/$130,000-195,000). It shows men and women dancing and talking in a pastoral setting alive with fun, games and laughter. The ladies of Paris society who enjoyed a wild, extravagant lifestyle under the Directoire, in reaction to the misery and austerity of the Terror, were known as Incroyables et Merveilleuses ('incredible and marvellous').

Another attractive painting is by Michel Garnier (1753-1819), an artist not documented after the end of the 18th century. His Elegant Lady Playing with a Bird shows a young woman preparing to go to a ball, gazing lovingly at the portrait miniature she holds in her hands. A typically postrevolutionary hat is placed on the table alongside (est. €60,000-80,000/$78,000-104,000).

Other highlights include Conversation in a Park by Louis de Caulery (1580-1621, est. €60,000-80,000) and Figure in a Classical Gallery dated 1632, painted jointly by Willem Cornelisz Duyster (1599-1635) and the Monogramist PW, and consigned by a collector from the south of France (est. €70,000-100,000/$91,000-130,000).

Connoisseurs of genre scenes will enjoy two works by Jean Raoux (1677-1734): The Concert (est. €40,000-60,000) and The Hunt (est. €20,000-30,000) – as well as a delicate oil painting by Jacques Sablet (1749-1803), his 1791 Lady Listening to a Guitarist in a Park in Rome, consigned by a European private collector (est. €70,000-100,000/$91,000-130,000).

Sotheby’s also will offer two paintings from the Collection of Dr Joseph Récamier, personal physician to the Duc d’Orléans, and who accompanied the duke on his expeditions to Greenland: Portrait of Madame Pompadour by François-Hubert Drouais (1727-75, est. €70,000-100,000/$91,000-130,000); and Merchants Halting in a Doorway by Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761-1845), a work still in magnificent condition (est. €60,000-80,000/$78,000-104,000).

19th Century Paintings
The second part of the sale, devoted to the 19th Century, will offer collectors of paintings and drawings a superb choice of French works spanning the entire century.

The early 1800s is well represented, notably by Charles-Jacques Lebel's spectacular depiction of Maréchal de Turenne Asleep on the Eve of the Battle of Turckheim, first unveiled at the Salon of 1817 (est. €30,000-40,000/$39,000-52,000). Two versions of Minerva Leading the Genius of the Arts towards Immortality by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon (1758-1823) – one in oils (est. €60,000-80,000), the other in black pencil (est. €20,000-30,000/$26,000-39,000) – were preparatory studies for a monumental ceiling painting in the Louvre, which Prud’hon never had time to carry out. Also of historic significance is a painting by Provençal artist François-Marius Granet (1775-1849): Padre Pozzo of the Company of Jesus at work on a Painting, Surrounded by Fellow Jesuits (est. €20,000-30,000/$26,000-39,000).

Drawings connoisseurs will enjoy a large, rare portrait (c.1840-45) by Gustave Courbet (1819-77), thought to represent his partner Virginie Binet (est. €30,000-50,000/$39,000-65,000). There will also be two fine drawings by Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863): a Nude portraying the famous model Mademoiselle Rose, painted by Delacroix and Bonington at the start of the 1820s (est. €20,000-30,000/$26,000-39,000); and a portrait of The Actress Rachel in the Rôle of Phèdre (c.1843). Rachel was the stage name of Elisabeth Félix (1821-58), who made her debut at the Comédie Française in 1838 and became the first actress to achieve international fame. She was portrayed in paintings, drawings, engravings, sculpture and photographs by a host of artists (est. €35,000-50,000/$45,000-65,000).

Other paintings evoking the theatrical world include a flamboyant Portrait of Constant Coquelin the Elder in the Rôle of Don Cesar de Bazan (Ruy Blas) by the Spanish artist Raimundo Madrazo y Garreta (1841-1920); four portraits by Carolus-Duran (1837-1917), all with a Feydeau family provenance – led by a portrait of Madame Henri Fouquier (est. €15,000-20,000/$19,000-26,000); and an enchanting portrait of a young girl – probably Dyane-Valentine Feydeau, sister of the celebrated vaudeville playwright Georges Feydeau (est. €15,000-20,000/$19,000-26,000).

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