1812 Boulevard du Crime
2010 SOLD 4.56 M$ including premium
While the Palais-Royal is the place to go to fashion, Boulevard du Crime becomes the active center of entertainment and amusements. Its real name was Boulevard du Temple, but the Parisians had given it that nickname as a fun for the horrors that the theaters offered to good people.
At Christie's on January 27 in New York, Boilly observes a large crowd engaged in various activities in front of the entry of Café Turc, boulevard du Temple, in 1812. The costumes can not mistake on the time. This slice of Parisian life is an oil on canvas, 73 x 91 cm, estimated $ 3 million.
Typical of its time, the Café Turc was both a place of tasting ice creams and exotic drinks, and a garden. Paris enjoyed during the next decades an intense development of dancing gardens, cafés concerts, theme parks and restaurants.
POST SALE COMMENT
This lively Parisian scene has been regarded by purchasers as one of the masterpieces of Boilly. It was sold 4.56 million $ including premium.
Here the image of the star lot of this evening, shared a few days before the sale by Art Market Monitor.
1813 Portrait of Murat by Canova
2017 SOLD for € 4.3M including premium by Christie's
narrated in 2020
Joachim is a dandy who imagines himself perfectly matching the role of Cupid. In 1797 he seduced Napoléon's youngest sister, Caroline, who was only fifteen years old. His military feats are useful for Napoléon, and he can finally marry Caroline in 1800. Canova becomes the portrait sculptor of the Bonaparte family. The statue of Pauline Borghese, another sister of Napoléon, as a half naked Venus Victrix, finished in 1808, is famous.
At the height of his art, Canova begins his series of Ideal Heads in 1811. Murat becomes king of Naples in 1808. In 1813 he calls Canova to Naples to make his portrait and that of Caroline. The two plasters are kept in the museum of Possagno, the hometown of Canova. The artist returns to Rome to carve the marbles.
Neither of the two marbles had been seen. The portrait of King Joachim had been preserved by the Murat family. This 50 cm high bust in Carrara marble, fully conforming to the plaster, is mounted on a 16 cm high marble pedestal. It was sold for € 4.3M including premium by Christie's on November 28, 2017, lot 714. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
This portrait is convincingly realistic. The face is proud, almost vain. The curls of hair are luxuriantly rendered. Canova used his secret polishing formula to give the skin a supple texture.
The marble portrait of Queen Caroline has not resurfaced.
1814 Ideal Heads by Canova
2018 SOLD for £ 5.3M including premium
Through a process developed by the artist, the finish is beautiful and brilliant, reaching the delicacy of a real skin. Canova explained his method of passing a brush dipped in sanded water on the surface and then cleaning with a sponge. The marble remains natural without adding pigments.
The busts of young women suit very well the perfection reached by Canova. From 1811 he proposes to his clients his Ideal Heads (Teste Ideali) to which he usually attributes mythological, historical, literary or allegorical denominations. Some of them are presented to patrons whom he wishes to honor.
In March 2012 a marble head is auctioned in London without identification of author, title and provenance. The buyer inspects it after the sale and identifies it as the Bust of Peace carved by Canova in 1814 while he was working on a full length statue on that theme for a Russian minister.
At this time the whole Europe is eager to end the Napoleonic wars. The Pope asks for help from Canova for the repatriation of looted art. The Bust of Peace is promised and then delivered by the artist to a British Lord involved in this project. The identification of the piece was lost by the descendants.
This bust 53 cm high including its white marble socle will be sold as lot 25 by Sotheby's in London on July 4. The video below shows that its quality is real. It is surprising that no attribution was attempted in 2012.
1814 Breguet, the Physicist of Time
2012 SOLD 4.3 MCHF including premium
The eighteenth century had highly important mechanics. Abraham-Louis Breguet, micro-mechanical genius, settled into pocket watches the most extraordinary complications of the clocks, and was the inventor of basic concepts such as the tourbillon and the wristwatch.
On May 14 in Geneva, Christie's sells two Breguet watches, each estimated CHF 800K. Both have two main dials, but for quite different reasons.
The earliest, sold in 1814, has two similar and symmetrical complete mechanisms. The idea of the inventor was to compensate the mechanical resonance, a source of error that was a challenge for the watchmakers. This is the first of three watches made by Breguet on this principle. The other two will be provided to the kings of England and France. Here is the link to the catalog.
The complication of the other is even more spectacular. One mechanism provides the official time calculated according to a regular day of 24 hours, and the other mechanism provides real solar time as it was read from sundials at the ground. The motion drift of earth and sun can reach a quarter of an hour, almost repetitively from year to year.
This specimen with the equation of time, sold in 1827, is posthumous. Antoine-Louis Breguet had succeeded his father. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
Forget the estimates. The press release was convincing, and the two Breguet watches are masterpieces from one of the most brilliant periods of watchmaking.
Technically very bold, the watch with two movements from 1814 was sold CHF 4.3 million including premium.
The watch with the equation of time was sold CHF 2.55 million including premium.
1814 The Constable Valley
2017 SOLD for £ 1.8M including premium
In 1814 the artist's friends are sorry. He works in the studio from oil sketches executed outdoors and the result does not have the finish of a masterpiece. Let him take the example of Claude Lorrain ! Constable then tries a new process by which he begins the outdoor work on the final format.
This intermediate phase lasted until his move to London in 1816 and excited his ambition. From 1819 to 1825 he painted his six-footers in his studio by relying upon his previous works, his memory and his sensitivity.
A scenery of the flooded valley has just been re-attributed to Constable because the high quality of its realization matches his 1814-1816 technique. This oil on canvas 51 x 91 cm is atypical in Constable's art by this illustration of a flood and by its foreground with cattle in Dutch taste.
The attribution to R.R. Reinagle had seemed plausible. This artist was known as a copyist of the Dutch masters and had worked in the Stour valley during the flood of 1799. Nevertheless this was not enough to reject an attribution to Constable.
Until his success with the six footers Constable had essentially a local clientele. The assumption that a patron asked for a specific composition may be accepted. This artwork seems to be the wedding gift commissioned in 1814 to Constable for the daughter of the owner of the meadows in the foreground by her wealthy husband.
This painting is estimated £ 2M for sale by Sotheby's in London on December 6, lot 40. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
1814 A Pair of Pistols for the Aiglon
2015 SOLD for £ 960K including premium
Le Page realized in January 1814 this pair of short and light pistols, 21 cm including the stock, which may be held by a young boy. Arms and case are inlaid with precious materials, with all the symbols of the Empire along with the Iron Crown which is more specifically an attribute to the King of Rome.
The Emperor desired to express his confidence in the military future of his Aiglon. In a cartouche outside the box, the Centaur Chiron teaches the young Achilles to shoot.
The Empire runs just after into a disaster, with an unforeseen consequence on the art market. Frustrated to have lost the access to Paris for ten years, the English antiquarians rush and start acquiring Napoleonic souvenirs. The pair of pistols of the King of Rome was purchased in 1816 by William Bullock, naturalist and explorer who was a very active creator of museums in London.
This pair is estimated £ 800K, for sale in its original case by Sotheby's in London on July 8, lot 35. I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's:
>1814 Made by Goya for the Pleasure of Art
2011 SOLD 2.3 M£ including premium
This is possibly a unique case of a top artist who built a singular and intimate vision of humanity apart from his official work. The accuracy of the line is worthy of the best works of the master, but none of these drawings can be considered as the outline of a painting.
After consulting the databases, I discovered an amazing fact in my own archives. The five drawings in three sales that I have discussed in this group are the only ones that have been auctioned since I started my work in 2008. I cannot hide it: I like the drawings of Goya.
On July 5 in London, Christie's sells one of the largest, 26 x 19 cm. The paper mark makes it dated after 1814. It is estimated £ 2M, and shared by Christie's Audio.
Numbered 37, it was entitled "Hutiles Trabajos" by Goya himself. The scene is lovely. Two squatting women wash clothes while another one hangs the laundry to a branch. Engaged in this essential work, they talk nicely. According to the press release, we must compare the drawing to its counterpart, Number 36, where women are fighting.
The rather static theme is animated by the wind in the skirts and laundry, and by the remarkable diagonal of the hanging clothes.
POST SALE COMMENT
Good result, £ 2.3 million including premium, for this beautiful drawing that Christie's had failed to sell in Paris in March 2007.
One... Two... Three Goyas
2008 SOLD 2.3 M£ including premium
One wonders what the buyer of 1877 wanted to do, because they were found still protected by the mounting used for nailing on the walls of the Hotel Drouot. The advantage for buyers today is that these drawings which spent two-thirds of their time in the dark are in a condition described by Christie's as exceptional.
A scene showing four witches in flight is estimated £ 800 K.
The second drawing is political. An enemy of the people is tied behind a dead horse and observed by a gang of dogs in the arena of Saragossa (600 K £).
Repentance, the third of these drawings, shows the anguish of a character in prayer, and is particularly notable for the quality of its execution, characterized by the accuracy of the brush strokes (700 K £).
A drawing is more fragile than a painting. His condition is very important to consider the price. I therefore want to believe what Christie's said, that this group of drawings by Goya is the most important to come at auction for 30 years.
POST SALE COMMENT
The success was assured in advance for such a package, but it is nice to see that one of the three drawings made a remarkable price:
The group of witches has sold £ 2.3 million fees included. Alone, this drawing almost got the price that was expected for the three.
Repentance and the scene of Saragossa have both slightly exceeded their low estimates, respectively at 960 and 770 K £ costs included.
1816 Turner inspired by the Greeks
2009 SOLD 13 M$ including premium
We come again at Sotheby's, this time in New York to find a large oil on canvas by the artist, 117 x 178 cm, for sale on January 29.
It is a temple of Jupiter Panellenius (ie friend of the Greeks). This painting is later (1816), but the composition is similar to that of 1808: an animated green leads to a remote monument, flooded with sunlight, which is the strong point of the image. The characters of the English villa were walkers. Those of the temple, dressed according to antique fashion, play a round dance.
Turner made only three paintings inspired by Greece. We must see the influence of the romantic come back to the antique (that at that time influenced also the cloth fashion) and not a political mood, as the movements that would lead to the independence of Greece were just beginning in 1816.
Considering its great size, this Turner painting is probably one of the most important to be still in private hands. It expects $ 12 million.
POST SALE COMMENT
Sotheby's knows the market for Turner. The result is in line with forecasts: $ 13 million including premium.
1816 The Beast won !
2013 SOLD 1.9 M$ including premium
Goya himself had practiced bullfighting. He had admired Illo, who was with Pedro Romero one of the great reformers of that art. Horrified as we know by wars, Goya could not fail to devote a full set of prints to this deadly game in which the man was not always the winner.
La Tauromaquia is the saga of the corrida de toros, published in 33 prints by Goya in Madrid in 1816, and showing the feats and death of Illo. The aquatints were prepared by drypoint, and two of them are enhanced by a wash.
A complete original set, remarkably homogeneous, is estimated $ 400K, for sale by Christie's in New York on April 9. Images on an oblong sheet 28 x 40 cm are accompanied by a page on the same paper with the handwritten list of titles. The set is assembled in a binding of that time. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
For ancient and modern prints, perfect examples of the most prestigious editions have no price limit. They are works of art in their own right: $ 1.9 million including premium.
1818 Portrait of the Dedreux Children by Géricault
2009 SOLD 9 M€ including premium by Christie's
narrated in 2020
The fall of the Empire opens a new phase, which culminates in 1819 with The Raft of the Medusa, a monumental work without mercy which symbolizes the true destiny of men, in a heroism devoid of meaning and hope.
In his workshop of the rue des Martyrs, Géricault regularly meets other artists including Carle and Horace Vernet, Delacroix and Dedreux-Dorcy. He makes a few portraits of the two children of Dedreux-Dorcy's brother.
In 1818 Géricault is forced against his will to take an interest in children. He could not recognize the birth of his son Georges-Hippolyte, the result of his incest with the wife of his uncle and declared as the son of the housemaid born from an unknown father.
The portrait of Alfred and Elise Dedreux is an oil on canvas 99 x 79 cm painted in 1818. The boy is 8 years old and the girl two years younger. They resemble each other and are similarly hairstyled and dressed. The girl is standing, dominating this scene.
At that time Géricault sought to convert into a neo-classical style. The double portrait is chilling. The gazes of the children are uncompromising for this world of adults in which they do not enter. The landscape behind them is arbitrary and unidentifiable. Two small flowers fall from the hand of the girl who pays no attention to them. This picture is a double tronie, anticipating by its psychological stiffness the studies of mental patients of the later period of the artist.
The young Alfred was passionate about the images of horses painted by Géricault. He will specialize in this theme under the name of Alfred de Dreux, thus usurping a noble particle.
The portrait of the Dedreux children remained in Elise's family until 1925. From the Saint-Laurent - Bergé collection, it was sold for € 9M including premium by Christie's on February 23, 2009 over a lower estimate of € 4M, lot 83. It was bought in that sale by Liliane Bettencourt. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
< 1819 The Guardian of the Taboos
2017 SOLD for € 6.3M including premium
When James Cook visits Hawaii in 1778, the territory is divided. He meets Kalani'opu'u, the king of Kona district. In the following year a violent quarrel with that king results in the murder of the captain. Kalani'opu'u died in 1782, leaving the political power to a son and the religious power to his nephew Kamehameha who thus became the high priest of the god of war Ku also known as Ku Ka'ili Moku.
With this terrifying support Kamehameha manages to conquer the entire territory of Hawaii and starts a dynasty that will last until 1872. He builds for Ku large temples populated by statues with various ritual roles.
A complex social system named Kapu based on taboos protected the elites against middlemen and slaves. When Kamehameha dies an octogenarian in 1819 his favorite wife becomes queen and regent. Women had in the Kapu a subsidiary role that did not please the new regent. She forces the young Kamehameha II to abolish Kapu and to destroy temples and idols. English travelers will manage in the 1820s to collect a few pieces that escaped the iconoclasts, so being the ultimate symbols of a frightening pagan mythology.
On November 21 in Paris, Christie's sells as lot 153 a 53 cm high statuette of Ku made during the reign of Kamehameha I. It had been detached from a column on which it had served as a guardian in a temple or a necropolis.
The head is oversized above the muscular body whose attitude is powerful. The broad mouth shaped as a horizontal eight is fitted with teeth throughout its perimeter in an expression of total ferocity that suited Kamehameha I's ambitions.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's.
La vente de la collection d'art tribal de Pierre Vérité a rencontré un grand succès hier soir, avec l'adjudication d'une statuette de divinité hawaïenne pour 6 345 000 euros #ArtTribal #CollectionVerite #ChristiesParis #AuctionResult pic.twitter.com/eCLJpiQgx4— Christie's Paris (@christiesparis) November 22, 2017