Yesterdays results for this collection sold at Sotheby's
Paris in association with Artcurial, pay tribute to a refined collection of French paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, built up over the past 20 years. The sale achieved 8.7 million ($9.5 million), 90% sold by lot and 93% sold by value, which represents the highest amount for a sale in this category for more than twenty years.
Eric Turquin, expert in Old Master Paintings: "This was a gamble that paid off for this collector after twenty years of passionate search and for our three companies! This sale is a real landmark, because it demonstrates that when well-chosen, French 17th and 18th century paintings appeal to customers from across the world and can still unleash passions. The market has paid a special tribute to the bravery of Louis Grandchamp des Raux who often bucked the trend when making choices over the last twenty years. His taste for a fresh painting with wonderful thickness of paint was hailed by enthusiastic bids with applause breaking out at the end of the sale. "
Women painters were especially, honoured today with two auction records achieved for the most talented women artists of the 17th and 18th centuries, rare women painters who managed to stand tall in a world still reserved for men: Louyse Moillon and Anne Vallayer Coster.
The highest price of the evening was for a work by Louyse Moillon, Still life of peaches on a pewter charger atop a chip-wood box on a ledge, 1634, which has just set a new world auction record for the artist when it sold for 1,083,000 ($1,191,560). The former record was set by Sotheby's Paris in 2013* (lot 6, est.: 400,000 - 600,000). In this painting, Louyse Moillon invites the viewer to contemplate peaches arranged with great simplicity and a startling realism.
A second painting by the artist, a past master in the art of still life, is a more unusual picture representing a Still life with a basket of bitter oranges and pomegranates on a ledge, circa. 1650. Competitive bidding took it well above its pre-sale estimate at 783,000 ($861,488) (lot 7, estimate: 350,000 - 450.000).
Another female artist acclaimed this evening was Anne Vallayer-Coster, whose masterpiece, Portrait of a woman with a violin painted in 1773, achieved the world auction record when it sold for 903,000 ($993,517) (lot 22, est.: 300,000 - 400.000). This painting, a rare work of one of the artist's few known portraits, was purchased by a major European museum.
Buyers showed their interest for rarer works contained in this collection like the beautiful work by Pierre-Antoine Lemoine, Still life with grapes, a platter of peaches and a Chinese jar on a stone ledge. This painting, one of the four known works of this artist, doubled its high pre-sale estimate of 200,000 to fetch 423,000 ($465,402) (lot 8).
The market has once again confirmed the incredible interest for the great masters of 18th Century paintings. Joseph Vernet with Fishermen leaving at sunrise from 1747, achieved the third highest price of the evening at 843,000 ($927,502) well-above its high estimate of 600,000 (lot 24). This picturesque vision of the Mediterranean coast was listed as a Historical Monument in 1958, along with all the furniture from the château of Ferney-Voltaire.
François Boucher, Pastoral countryside with washerwomen and a couple at the water's edge, a model of the artist's generous technique was bought for 267,000 ($293,764) by a French collector (lot 23, est.: 120,000 - 180,000. The force with which he applies the paint and the imprint of thick brush strokes create the poetry of his composition.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Italian landscape with stairs, painted during his first visit to Italy between 1756 and 1761 was sold for 267,000 ($293,764) (lot 26, est.: 200,000 - 300,000).
The auction included five works by François Desportes, which were among the ten highest prices of the evening. Fruit flowers and vegetables in a landscape, 1720, fetched 315,000 ($346,576) exceeding its estimate of 300,000 (lot 17). This still life shines with the balance of its composition and the softness of its colour range. A royal commission for the antechamber to the apartment of the King Louis XIV in Marly in 1702, the triple portrait of bitches, Bonne, Nonne and Ponne, sold for 303,000 ($333,373) (lot 18, est.: 250,000 - 300.000).