PARIS - On September 22 & 23, to mark the opening of the Autumn auction season in Paris, Sotheby’s will bring to a conclusion the story of the legendary collection begun by Antenor Patiño (1894-1982) and continued with supreme elegance and refinement by his widow Beatriz Patiño until her death in 2009. The collection – divided between Madame Patiño's principal residence La Quinta in Portugal and her Paris flat – gives Sotheby’s another opportunity to pay tribute to the exquisite taste and style which fashioned the Patiño legend.
The catalogue devoted to the collection reveals the contents of the last two residences on which Madame Patiño lavished her traditional decorative care and flair: the 'new' Quinta in Estoril, her masterpiece designed in 1990; and her Paris flat, where every detail went towards creating a subtle harmony between baroque abundance and domestic intimacy. Many works of art, pictures and items of furniture are illustrated in their earlier settings – the initial Quinta, luxurious Paris town-houses, and swanky New York apartments.
The collection’s furniture and works of art combine English cosiness with Italian exuberance, French neo-classical grandeur and iconoclastic works of art.
Neo-classical highlights include a rare pair of flat-backed painted and gilded beechwood chairs, typical of the decorative vogue of the late 18th century and directly inspired by the Classical Revival that presaged the Empire style (estimate ˆ30,000-50,000). A pretty Louis XV chair stamped F. Leroy, with modern leopard-skin upholstery, blends neo-classicism with decorative panache (est. ˆ40,000-60,000).
Later pieces of furniture include a pair of 19th century, Louis XVI-style Boulle marquetry tables with arabesques, lambrequins and scrolls in the style of Philippe Montigny (est. ˆ40,000-60,000); and a pair of 20th century bridge tables by Jansen (est. ˆ2,000-3,000), similar to those in the Baron de Redé Collection.
Important objets d’art include a pair of Louis XIV gilt-bronze wall-lights (est. ˆ40,000-60,000); a pair of important silver single-branch wall-lights made by Johann Valentin Gevers in Augsburg circa 1710 (est. ˆ80,000-120,000); a pair of Louis XVI gilt-bronze candlesticks attributed to Etienne Martincourt similar to those in the Wallace Collection, British Museum, Huntington Collection and Getty Museum (est. ˆ50,000-80,000); and a pair of mid-18th century Italian giltwood double-frame mirrors thought to originate from a palazzo in northern Italy (est. ˆ60,000-80,000).
Decorative elements typical of Portuguese Baroque include an important pair of early 18th century, carved oak porte-torchères in the form of two life-size classical figures, announcing the onset of Portuguese Rococo which was to thrive during the reign of João V (est. ˆ80,000-100,000). Such porte-torchères often represent ceroferary angels, like the pair made in 1726 in a style close to that associated with sculptor Marceliano de Araujo and the Convent of Aveiro.
The sale’s silver hails from across Europe. France takes centre-stage, with pieces from Strasbourg, but Germany, Russia and England items are also featured. Prestigious provenances include Tsarinas Elizabeth I and Catherine II of Russia; Countess Palatine Elizabeth Augusta; and the Duchess of Rutland – not forgetting the celebrated Chaumet service commissioned by Simon I. Patiño.
Two pairs of silver dishes with bell-covers (one oval, the other rectangular) from Strasbourg, made by Jacques-Henri Alberti (1768) and Jean-Louis III Imlin (1767-69), bear the mongram of Countess Palatine Elizabeth Augusta (est. ˆ25,000-35,000). There is also a silver-gilt dinner-service (Paris 1757/8) with the monogram of Catherine II of Russia (est. ˆ15,000-20,000), and cutlery by Joachim Friederich Kirstein (1758-1808) with the arms of Cardinal de Rohan, Archbishop of Strasbourg (est. ˆ3,000-5,000).
A pair of triangular silver bowls from the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Service, attributed to Carl Gustav Hallmuth (St Petersburg c.1774), also come complete with their bell-covers (est. ˆ50,000-70,000). Various Russian and French silversmiths helped make this service (commissioned by Catherine the Great) from 1770 onwards. It was inherited by Catherine’s son Paul I, then passed to his daughter Elena, who married Grand Duke Friedrich-Ludwig of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1799.
The assured taste harmoniously uniting all these items from different countries can also be admired in more exotic items, some from Latin America – such as the spectacular silver chandelier thought to have been made in what is now Bolivia (c.1700), 6ft 1in (1.85m) high and 3ft 3in (1m) across, with central bowl ringed by leafy openwork motifs (est. ˆ50,000-80,000).
Old Masters include a fine selection of works from the French, Spanish and Northern schools. A spectacular pair of hunting scenes by Jacques-Charles Oudry is typical of the spirit of 18th century France (est. ˆ100,000-150,000). The artist’s style and choice of subject-matter are directly inspired by his father’s work; the canvas featuring a water-spaniel can be likened to another picture by the artist dated 1753, while that featuring a similar recalls a work dated 1740 now in the Swedish Embassy in Paris.
Jean-François Garneray’s Portrait of a Young Woman in a Blue Dress, in a magnificent Louis XVI giltwood frame, is a subtle, poetic composition evocative of the refinement of late 18th century France (est. ˆ40,000-60,000). Robert Griffier’s Riverscape with Geese, Barbary Duck, Northern Lapwing & Other Birds, formerly owned by the Earl of Shrewbury & Waterford, is another showstopper (est. ˆ40,000-60,000).
Spanish art consists of two portraits much influenced by Goya: a portrait of a woman in a muslin dress (est. ˆ8,000-12,000); and an enchanting little portrait of a woman with fan (est. ˆ6,000-8,000).
The collection’s array of Dutch 18th century ‘monochrome’ still lifes comprises works by such leading masters of the genre as Pieter Claesz, with a composition based on a work by Jan Jansz Treck now in Antwerp’s Royal Museum of Fine Arts (est. ˆ8,000-12,000).
There is also one of the few signed paintings by Willem Claesz Heda’s pupil Maerten de Boelema de Stomme (est. ˆ25,000-35,000), a little-known artist first mentioned in the register of St Luke’s Guild in Haarlem in 1642, when he was already 31. Heda’s influence is clearly visible, even though his pupil seems to have taken some compositional liberties, resulting in a slightly confused impression.
Numerous objects of charm reflect Madame Patiño’s attention to detail when decorating her different residences – like a casket covered in red velvet (probably Italian, 16th/17th century) from the collection of Prince Solms-Braünfels (est. ˆ8,000-12,000); and a pair of three-light lanterns (est. ˆ500 up) similar to those in the Baron de Redé Collection.
The auction, to be staged by Sotheby’s Paris in conjunction with the Millerand & Saint-Seine expertise bureau, pursues a tradition dating back to the sale of the estate of Antenor Patiño in New York in 1986. Sotheby’s have since staged equally successful sales of Books & Manuscripts, Furniture, Silver and Old Masters from various branches of the Patiño family.
Friday 17 to Tuesday 21 September 10am – 6pm
Sunday 19 September 2pm-6pm