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Artcurial to offer Old Master paintings and drawings including drawings from the Georges Dormeuil Collection
Comédiens italiens dans un jardin, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, oil on canvas, 65,50 x 83 cm. Estimate: 150 000 - 200 000 € / 165 340 – 220 450 $.

PARIS.- The prestigious first semester, Old Master and 19th Century paintings and drawings auction will take place on March 31st at Artcurial during the Salon du Dessin (30th March – 4th April 2016.) It will be dominated by the exceptional collection of French 18th century drawings belonging to Georges Dormeuil which remained in his family until just recently.

“After the immense success of the Hebey Collection auction held on February 22nd and 23rd, we are once again thrilled to present works from exceptional backgrounds including an ensemble of drawings belonging to Georges Dormeuil some of which previously made up part of the Goncourt brother’s collection and pieces from the David-Weill and Pierre Crozat collections. Their presence highlights the international importance of Paris, the capital of Drawing.” Explains Matthieu Fournier, Artcurial Department Director and auctioneer.

Georges Dormeuil (1856-1939) was one of the greatest drawing collectors of his time. Dormeuil was in the industrial business specialising in the fabrication and trade of luxury fabrics. He was passionate about 18th century French art and began collecting in the 1890s. He had a sharp eye and a fine taste which enabled him to acquire exceptional artwork, notably at public sales of prestigious collections including Goncourt, Jacques Doucet, Chennevières, Destailleur and Beurdeley.

Amongst the works presented, two important drawings by Gabriel de SaintAubin (1724-1780), La "Vénus" de Mignot au Salon de 1757 and Autoportrait de l'artiste dans un médaillon will be presented and demonstrate the artist’s true talent. Rediscovered by the Goncourt brothers, this artist was passionate about Paris under the reign of Louis 15th and described cutural events and Parisian life from this period in a witty manner. The Louvre and the Frick Collection in New York organised a monographic exhibition of the artist in 2008.

La "Vénus" de Mignot au Salon de 1757 (est 40 000 - 60 000 € / 44 090 – 66 135 $), pen and black ink drawing has had a prestigious journey. Previously belonging to the Edmond and Jules de Goncourt collection and the Jacques Doucet collection, the work entered the Georges Dormeuil collection in 1912. The drawing represents a view of the 1757 ‘Salon’ with an exhibition of a sleeping Venus statue. The ‘Salon’ was an annual exhibition held at the Louvre which enabled artists from the Royal Academy to exhibit their works and get themselves known to the public. This event, a key haunt for SaintAubin was made famous by the critic Diderot and attracted plenty of visitors.

Autoportrait de l'artiste dans un médaillon (est 20 000 - 30 000 € / 22 045 – 33 070 $), is an emblamatic black crayon drawing which was engraved by Jules de Concourt in 1859 as a frontispiece for the first monography of the artist. It was later illustrated by Emile Dacier as an introduction for the famous catalogue of Saint-Aubin’s work.

At the auction, one will discover a red chalk work by Jacques-André Portail (1695 - 1759), Le flûtiste (est 40 000 - 60 000 € / 44 090 – 66 135 $). In this piece, the music-loving artist who was influenced by Watteau, evokes the elegant atmosphere of a society on a quest for harmony - a utopic ideal during the age of enlightenement. Le flûtiste remained part of the Goncourt brother’s collection for over 40 years.

Portrait de femme au corsage orné de rubans roses, is a pastel on paper by Jean-Baptiste Perronneau (1715 - 1783), and was part of the exhibition "Chefs d'œuvre de l'art français" at the Palais national des arts in Paris, held in 1937 (est 15 000 - 20 000 € / 16 530 – 22 045 $).

One can once again admire the talent of Gabriel de Saint-Aubin who carefully illustrated the events of Parisian life with the work, L'Incendie de l'Hôtel-Dieu en 1772, a pen drawing with black ink enhanced with watercolour and gouache (est 40 000 - 60 000 € / 44 090 – 66 135 $), from the David Weill collection. This fire was recounted by several writers and artists including Saint-Aubin and Hubert Robert who rushed to the Seine riverbanks to trace the terrible drama on paper as the event unravelled before them. This drawing was included in several exhibitions in Paris, Brussels, Hamburg, Cologne and Stuttgart.

Northern European Art will be represented by two exceptional pieces:
A brown ink pen drawing was rediscovered and attributed to Rembrandt (1606-1669). The work belonged to the Pierre Crozat collection and prior to that, to the Nourri collections (advisor at the Grand conseil), and also to the collection of the president Audry and Comte de BizemontPrunelé.

Portrait de rabbin au grand chapeau, around 1636-1639 (est 80 000 - 120 000 € / 88 120 – 132 270 $) was recently included in the unpublished drawings section of the internet revision by Martin Royalton-Kisch of Otto Benesch’s catalogue raisonné.

Another rare yet sizeable piece by Cornelis Visscher (around 1628/29 - 1658), was a preparatory piece for the famous engraving, La bohémienne (est : 40 000 - 60 000 € / 44 090 – 66 135 $) and is featured on the catalogue’s cover. This drawing made using black crayon evokes misery. According to John Hawley, it is a unique discovery as it represents the first preparatory drawing for a Visscher engraving.

Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686 - 1755) is present at the sale with a picture called Comédiens italiens dans un jardin, dating back to 1719 which previously belonged to the Blois private collection (est. 150 000 - 200 000 € / 165 340 – 220 450 $). The subject, rarely treated by the painter, was very popular at the beginning of the 18th century in France and was frequently developed by famous artists including Antoine Watteau, Nicolas Lancret and Jean-Baptiste Pater. The careful detail of the characters, their costumes, and the fresh colours, beautifully reflect exquisite French style from this period.

The auction offers a passionate discovery –a fragment of a painting by Mattia Preti (1613-1699) Apelle peignant Campaspe, oil on canvas (est 80 000120 000 € / 88 180 – 132 270 $) an important piece in understanding the famous Neapolitan painter. The painting by Preti was divided in half during the 20th century. The part on the right is now featured in the collections of the Museo del Barocco in Ariccia.

The great names of the French school will not be overlooked at this auction and quality works by Claude Vignon, Jacques Callot, François and JeanFrançois de Troy, François Boucher, Noël Hallé, Charles de La Fosse as well as the rare and delicate talent of Jean Barbault will all be presented.

Finally, of note in the sale is a charming representation by Alfred de Dreux of his nephew on horseback returning from a hunt (est 80 000 - 120 000 € / 88 180 – 132 270 $).

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