PARIS - The sale of Important Furniture, Sculpture & Works of Art to be held at Sotheby’s Paris on April 20 comprises to some 220 lots, including lacquered furniture; a rare carpet from the Manufacture de la Savonnerie; superb furniture from the Empire period; ivories; and exceptional medieval and Renaissance stained glass.
Furniture, Tapestries & Bronzes
Two items hail from the former Collection of Baron Gustave de Rothschild: a rare Paris tapestry portraying the Triumph of Leda (c.1700), from the Grands Dieux series made by Gilles Bacor in Paris (estimate ˆ80,000-120,000 / $106,000-160,000);* and a pair of Louis XVI giltbronze fire-dogs in the form of greyhounds, remarkable for the quality of their chasing (est. ˆ15,000-20,000 / $20,000-27,000).
A very rare Savonnerie carpet (c.1630-32) commissioned by Cardinal Giovanni Francesco Guidi di Bagno, ambassador of the Holy See, will delight Savonnerie aficionados (est. ˆ1,800,000-2,500,000 / $2,400,000-3,300,000).
A carved, giltwood, rococo two-panelled screen from southern Germany, dating from the first half of the 18th century and upholstered in its original fabric, was designed by François de Cuvilliès (1695-1768), acknowledged as one of the leading architects and decorators of German rococo. As court architect in Munich from 1728 he was renowned for his exuberant interpretation of the French rocaille style (est. ˆ100,000-150,000 / $133,000-200,000).
The selection of gilt-bronzes includes two sets of four wall-lights from the Louis XV (est. ˆ100,000-150,000 / $133,000-200,000) and Empire periods, the latter designed by Edme-Jean Gallien and Pierre Bureaux (est. ˆ120,000-180,000 /$160,000-240,000).
Among items of cabinet-making we find a Louis XV marquetry jewel casket (c.1760-70) stamped L. Boudin, P. Denizot and JME. Such caskets were made for prestigious clients, hence their tremendously creative design (est. ˆ30,000-50,000 / $40,000-67,000). From the same period comes an exuberant armoire à encoignures with floral marquetry by Christophe Wolff (est. ˆ30,000-50,000 / $40,000-67,000), and a pair of kingwood and rosewood marquetry corner-cupboards stamped BVRB (est. ˆ70,000-100,000 / $93,000-133,000).
The sale’s superb array of Empire furniture ranges from a rare elm and porcelain guéridon (1817), painted (and signed) by Queen Charlotte of Wurtemberg (est. ˆ60,000-80,000 / $80,000-106,000), to a brace of items by Jacob-Desmalter – a mahogany desk lent by Elisa Bonaparte to Napoleon during his captivity on the island of Elba (est. ˆ150,000-250,000 / $200,000-333,000), and a secrétaire en cabinet in plum-pudding mahogany (est. ˆ150,000-250,000 / $200,000-333,000).
The sale’s noteworthy selection of lacquered furniture begins with a rare cabinet (Paris c.1680) with vernis européen (est. ˆ15,000-25,000 / $20,000-33,000); a Louis XV slope-front secrétaire with a blue ground and vernis parisien, stamped Migeon (est. ˆ250,000-350,000 / $333,000-466,000); a red ground Louis XV slope-front secrétaire in vernis parisien, stamped JME and BVRB (est. ˆ60,000-100,000 / $80,000-133,000); and a German casket (c.1730) with European lacquer and gilt-bronze mounts (est. ˆ20,000-30,000 / $27,000-40,000).
Medieval & Renaissance Stained Glass & Enamel
The sale will commence with two important Gothic stained-glass panels, portraying Judas’ Kiss and the Crucifixion (Strasbourg, c.1260). These panels come from the Dominican church in Strasbourg (destroyed in 1870), and are the only examples still in private hands (est. ˆ50,000-70,000 / $67,000-93,000 apiece). They entered the local workshop of glazier Albert Sigel in 1850 for restoration, and were acquired by the grandmother of the current owners in 1909. The other windows of the series can be found in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, the Württembergisches Landesmuseum in Stuttgart, the Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame in Strasbourg, and some reemployed in the Chapelle St-Laurent in Strasbourg Cathedral.
An important champlevé enamel casket in Limoges, circa 1220, illustrates the History of St Thomas à Becket (est. ˆ50,000-70,000 / $67,000-93,000). The cult of St Thomas Becket (c.1118-70), the martyred Archbishop of Canterbury, saw a number of enamel caskets made in 13th century Limoges to contain his relics. The one here has been in the former François Baverey Collection in Lyon since 1960.
From the same collection, and formerly owned by Georges Chalandon and Albin Chalandon, comes a large, painted enamel plaque from Limoges (c.1475) portraying the Deposition of Christ. This rare enamel is typical of the work of the Pseudo-Monvaerni Master, active in Limoges 1465-85. It was presented at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900 (est. ˆ20,000-30,000 / $27,000-40,000).
Highlights include a large wedding casket in wood marquetry and ivory, made in the Embriachi workshop active in Northern Italy and Venice during the 15th century (est. ˆ7,000-10,000 / $9,300-13,300) ; and an 18th century Christ at the Column in ivory, metal and wood, the eyes incrusted with glass, made in the workshop of the renonwed Austrian-born Simon Troger (1638-1768) in 1730 (est. ˆ12,000-15,000 / $16,000-20,000).
French 18th & 19th Century Works
Sotheby’s has made the discovery of a hitherto considered to be lost portrait bust of François Quesnay by Louis-Claude Vassé (est. ˆ300,000-500,000 / $400,000-666,000 ). This virtuoso rendering of the physician and economist whom Louis XV dubbed his royal ‘Thinker’ dates from 1770, when Quesnay was at the height of his fame. The bust is signed, dated and dedicated, and was exhibited by Vassé at the Salon of 1771. Its naturalistic skill tellingly captures the Physiocratic Economist’s larger-than-life personality. Quesnay trained as a surgeon before being appointed Madame de Pompadour’s Physician-in-state in 1749. He was raised to the nobility by Louis XV in 1752 and devoted the rest of his career to the study of Economics. Louis-Claude Vassé was a member of Edme Bouchardon’s studio, he lived at the Villa Medici in Rome from 1740-45, and was admitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture in 1751.
Pétrus et Arrie (Paris c.1753), an important bronze group by Laurent Hubert (1749-86), was formerly in the Sir George Burns Collection at North Mumm’s Park, and has been exhibited at the Académie de St-Luc in Paris in 1753 and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. This impressively large bronze and manierist subject stands 52cm tall and, with its superb, translucent brown patina, is distinguished by its finesse and delicate casting (est. ˆ80,000-120,000 / $107,000-160,000).
Further notable works include a terracotta clock design entitled La Fidélité (1799) by Philippe-Laurent Roland, best known for his role, alongside his master Augustin Pajou, in the great decorative schemes at the Palais-Royal in Paris and the Opera House in Versailles. The final, bronze version of this clock was probably made by the great bronzier Pierre-Philippe Thomire (est. ˆ30,000-40,000 / $40,000-53,000).
Finally, the sale will include the rare marble model of the Three Graces by Albert Ernest Carrier-Belleuse — friend of Carpeaux, teacher of Jules Chéret and Auguste Rodin, and director of the Sèvres Porcelain Factory from 1876-87 (est.
Saturday 14 April 10am-6pm
Monday 16 April 10am-6pm
Tuesday 17 April 10am-6pm
Wednesday 18 April 10am-6pm
Thursday 19 April 10am-6pm
* estimates do not include buyer’s premium