Chinoiserie lead second Bonhams Paris Classics sale
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Chinoiserie lead second Bonhams Paris Classics sale
Baccio Bandinelli (Florence 1488-1560), Deux études de figures masculines (estimate: €30,000-50,000). Photo: Bonhams.

PARIS.- A nice selection of old master drawings and paintings along with pieces of furniture and sculptures lead Bonhams’ Classics Sale in Paris on Tuesday 14 November. This sale will be followed by Bonhams’ first Parisian sale of Ceramics entitled Fired Beauty: 500 ans de Céramiques Européennes on Wednesday 15 November.

During the 18th-century, China seemed a mysterious, faraway place. Although trade between the two countries had increased over the 17th and 18th centuries, access to China was still restricted. Chinoiserie drew on these exotic, mysterious preconceptions. Mythical beasts such dragons also became a common Chinoiserie motif, summoning up all that was strange and wonderful about the East.

Nette Megens, Bonhams Director of Decorative Arts for Europe and UK, said: “We are very happy to organize the first sale of European Ceramics in Paris offering examples of rare Ceramics from 16th to 19th century. The Classics sale is dominated by Chinoiserie works of art which fascinated collectors attracted by fantastic landscapes with fanciful pavilions, sweeping lines of the roofs of Chinese pagodas, fabulous birds and figures in Chinese clothe such as an exceptional set of wallpaper made in China for the European market.”

Arrived by boat from China, this exceptional set of wallpaper, China for the European market, 18th century is a real technical feat, a homogeneous whole in a remarkable state of conservation. Removed from the room where it had been since the 18th century, each strip was cleaned and transposed onto a wooden frame (estimate: €65,000-85,000).

Having a chinoiserie in your home was a sign of good taste and perfection; it could be painted on woodwork, silk or paper. It was the middle of the 18th century, and trade with China and Europe was very strong, with pieces being made especially for the European market. The trading posts and the Compagnie des Indes transported these coveted works of art, including porcelain, lacquer panels and silk, to the Netherlands, England and France.

An important Louis XVI ormolu-mounted polychrome-decorated vernis Martin, kingwood, amaranth and ebonised secrétaire à abattant stamped by Léonard Boudin and attributed to André-Louis Gilbert, circa 1775 (estimate: €30,000-50,000). This beautiful piece is

decorated with chinoiserie panelled scenes, mounted by a white-veined rouge griotte marble top. The fall-front features a courtly chinoiserie scene with elegant figures in a terraced garden with children playing,

Deux études de figures masculines (recto); Etude d'un taureau (verso) by Baccio Bandinelli (Florence 1488-1560). From the former Christian Adrien collection, this sheet, rich in expressive force and drawn on both sides, depicts, on the recto, two studies of the same standing man seen both in profile and slightly turning away. Executed by the Florentine artist Baccio Bandinelli, heir to Michelangelo's (1475-1564) visual legacy later the sixteenth century, it demonstrates his remarkable skill in rendering the body, its torsion and its muscular structure as if the artist was sculpting the figures on paper (estimate: €30,000-50,000).

Saint Jean l’Evangéliste tenant un calice by Artus Wollfort (estimate: €15,000 - 20,000). Formerly attributed to the Circle of Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), the painting is now attributed to the Flemish artist, Wolffort, whose works were not well known until the late 1970s. Often conceived as part of a series, the artist made numerous works of this single-figure type and depicting Apostles, Evangelists or Prophets. In one such series, now at the Museo del Prado, Madrid, the artist painted a similar figure Saint John the Evangelist.

Depicting the Colossus of Rhodes, the monumental semi-clad statue of the sun god Helios, this important Brussels tapestry dates to the late 16th century, measuring 391 cm wide. The tapestry depicts the Colossus with his quiver of arrows on his left shoulder and his bow grasped in his left hand, set against an extensive and bustling landscape. Meanwhile, a group of figures admire the Colossus dressed in elaborate costume and gesturing to the ancient monument.(Estimate: €40,000-60,000).

Other highlights of the 178-lot sale include:

A pair of Louis XV ormolu-mounted and Chinese Qianlong (1736-1796) porcelain wader birds three-branch candelabra, mid-18th century (Estimate: €20,000-30,000)

A Louis XV ormolu-mounted mother-of-pearl inlaid tulipwood, amaranth, ebony, green-stained wood and fruitwood marquetry bombé marquetry commode by Joseph Schmitz, mid-18th century (Estimate: €20,000-30,000).

Fired Beauty: 500 years of European ceramics

Bonhams’ first sale in Paris dedicated to European ceramics will take place on 15 November, offering a selection of some of Europe’s greatest ceramic traditions and factories.

Highlights of the 178-lot sale include:

• From the Vanderbilt Collection, a very rare pair of faience bird tureens and covers, probably Proskau, circa 1760 (estimate: €40,000-60,000).

• Two rare Strasbourg faience pigeon tureens and covers, circa 1750 (estimate: €40,000-60,000).

• A large Brussels or French faience cabbage tureen, cover and stand, mid 18th century (estimate: €10,000-15,000).

• A Meissen yellow-ground Augustus Rex vase and cover, circa 1730 (estimate: €30,000-50,000).

• From the Royal Collections of Saxony, Japanese Palace, Dresden, delivered in April 1731, a very rare Meissen twelve-sided deep dish from the 'Gelbe Loewe' Service, circa 1729-31 (estimate: €20,000-30,000).

• A Meissen two-handled ecuelle and cover, circa 1724 (estimate: €25,000-35,000).

• A Sèvres hard-paste bouillon cup and cover from the 'perles et barbeaux' service for Queen Marie-Antoinette, circa 1781. The work was purchased by Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, and entered in the end-of-year sale records for 1781-82 (estimate: €3,000-5,000).

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