1820 Ramel de Nogaret by David
2008 SOLD for $ 7.2M including premium by Christie's
narrated in 2020
David runs his business well. His prices are high and his paid exhibition of the Sabines for five years in a room of the Louvre brings him a fortune. He receives a pension as Premier Peintre de l'Empire and increases his income through education and the right to engraving.
The regicides are proscribed after the fall of the Empire. David joins the imperial diaspora in Brussels where he fails to obtain an official position. From then on, to earn a living, he welcomes the commissions by his friends for portraits.
David's work has always been dual : on the one hand the heroic paintings which attract the public, on the other the realistic portraits. The portrait of Delahaye, painted in Paris in 1815, was sold for € 2.14M including premium by Christie's on June 22, 2006.
The regicide Ramel, also known as Ramel de Nogaret, was also an expatriate in Brussels. He had been Ministre des Finances under the Directoire and tried to resume political service during the Cent Jours. He was a close friend of David of whom he will deliver the funeral oration.
In 1820 David paints the portraits of Ramel and his wife. Ramel, aged 60, expresses his incorruptible virtue with dignity.
The two paintings, which had been separated, were reunited after the sale of the portrait of Ramel by Binoche for FF 16M on October 18, 1995. They were again separated in the auction by Christie's on April 15, 2008. The portrait of Ramel, oil on canvas 59 x 46 cm, was sold for $ 7.2M including premium, lot 72. The portrait of his wife was not sold. The images are shared by Wikimedia.
1820 The Singing Birds of Geneva
2011 SOLD 45.5 MHK$ including premium
These automata are pistol shaped and their barrels house the hundreds of mechanical components. The decor is exquisite and the materials are precious: gold, enamel, agate, pearl, diamond. They are shown on the release shared by Artdaily.
When the trigger is pulled, the colorful bird leaves at the end of the barrel, turns, opens and closes its wings and beak, sings. After such a work, it returns home.
They are in exceptional condition, as demonstrated by a video on the website of Christie's. Singing bird pistol automaton are very rare, and these are the only remaining specimens that have been kept as a pair. The auction house admits that it is difficult to predict the price of such an absolutely unique lot, and advances a very open estimate range: HK $ 20 to 40M.
POST SALE COMMENT
The prices of lots that are unique of their kind have no limit. Excellent result for this one: HK $ 45.5 million including premium.
I invite you to play the video shared on the web by Christie's :
early 1820s The Shah who was never old
2014 SOLD 3 M£ including premium
Often in history a new dynasty enforces its authority by deploying an extreme wealth. The ceremonies of Fath 'Ali were sumptuous, decorated with the most beautiful rugs and finest gems.
The Shah wanted that his palace was decorated with pictures of himself and his family occupied in these luxurious ceremonies. These portraits were displayed lifesize like the English kings in Tudor times, and in oil on canvas, which was an innovation for Persian art.
For these reasons, the Qajar art under Fath 'Ali is unique. The name of the artist who directed this project for three decades is known : Mihr 'Ali. It is difficult to distinguish his autograph work because he had many students.
Throughout this period, the image of the Shah never gets old. He kept the huge black beard down to the belt and the mustache hiding the mouth. Only varied the luxurious details of the high crown, garment, carpet and of the wide bolster whose pattern often matched the carpet. The gaze is straight up to expressing a challenge.
On October 12, 2004, Sotheby 's sold £ 900K including premium a portrait of the Shah, 203 x 114 cm.
On April 9 in London, Sotheby's sells another canvas, 223 x 163 cm, estimated £ 1.5 M. The pentagonal shape is due to the space where the work was to be hung in the palace.
The Shah is kneeling on a carpet. He is accompanied by a standing teenager in a perfect costume, who is certainly his grandson Mohammad Mirza, eldest son of the Crown Prince and 12 years old in 1820 of our calendar.
POST SALE COMMENT
This outstanding Qajar portrait was sold for £ 3M including premium.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
1822 Along the River Stour
2016 SOLD for £ 14M including premium
Traditional methods are no longer sufficient for his communion with the English countryside. He begins by giving up the outdoor painting. He then invents the suitable process when he transfers his detailed sketches on a large canvas, generating the full scale sketch that he tirelessly reworks until he finds the balance of composition and the animation for the final work.
His interpretation of the Stour River in a distance range not exceeding five kilometers results in a set of six paintings from 1819 to 1825 which are the masterpieces of Constable and more generally of any landscape painting.
The six-foot sketches of these six paintings have been preserved. Constable refused to sell his sketches, considering that we must sell the corn and not the field that grew it. They were dispersed in his deceased estate sale but it was not until 1862 that their importance could be analyzed when two sketches were finally exhibited beside their matching final artwork.
Seen by a modern observer, the comparison is stunning. The sketch is the direct result of the creativity of the painter in a thick impasto that provides a pre-Impressionist expressiveness. The application of the brush is free and vibrant without the conventional restraint that will be applied to the final work. By design, the numerous remorses directly reflect the creative process of the artist.
On June 30 in London, Christie's sells at lot 12 the six-foot sketch for the fourth painting in the series, the View on the Stour near Dedham, which is the only full scale sketch of the Stour series still in private hands. This oil on canvas 129 x 185 cm was worked between autumn 1821 and the exhibition of the final work in 1822 at the Royal Academy. The press release of May 26 reveals an estimate around £ 12M to 16M.
1822 The Big Dream of the Half Eagles
2021 SOLD for $ 8.4M including premium
Half eagles of the capped head type caught their attention early on. Around 1820 their gold value had exceeded the face value. Their production was limited, the government was reluctant to put them into circulation, and a large proportion of the coins were redeemed and melted.
1816 and 1817 are out of the scope : no half eagle was released on these years. 1822 was known from a severely worn coin found by an executive of the Philadelphia mint who was already looking to fill in the gaps. The first craze applied to the 1815.
In 1864 the Seavey collection of gold coins was reputed complete. Parmelee acquired it en bloc, including an 1822 half eagle.
In 1890 Parmelee put his collection up for auction at the New York Coin and Stamp Company. His 1822 half eagle was to be the star of the event, symbolizing the sensational quality of his collection. Catastrophe : this highly desirable coin is a counterfeit.
A subterfuge is found. By chance, one of the managers of the auction house owns an 1822 half eagle, which is then somehow the only one in private hands. He substitutes it for the Seavey-Parmelee unit and auctions it to himself for $ 900. It is the most expensive lot of the sale, far ahead of the 1815 half eagle, already less rare at that time, sold for $ 235. The authentic 1822 will enter the Smithsonian collection in 1968.
Only one other 1822 half eagle has surfaced. It appeared in 1899, bought by Virgil Brand from a dealer. Louis E. Eliasberg acquired it in 1945 from a broker. It made the big dream come true : his collection is complete and unrivaled, since this authentic piece is the only one of its variety in private hands.
Coming now from the D. Brent Pogue collection and graded AU-50 by PCGS, it passed at Stack's Bowers on May 24, 2016, lot 4026. It will be sold by the same auction house in Las Vegas on March 25, 2021, lot 4149. Please watch the short video shared by Stack's Bowers.
The Only 1822 Half Eagle Available to Collectors— Stack's Bowers (@StacksBowers) March 23, 2021
1822 Capped Head Left Half Eagle. BD-1. Rarity-8. AU-50 (PCGS).
"I have the only one not in the hands of the government." - Louis Eliasberg, on the 1822 half eagle, 1975
Bid on Lot 4149 at https://t.co/BoJzSFkF9P. pic.twitter.com/7PybjguHcM
1823 Divine Light on the Alp
2018 SOLD for £ 2.53M including premium
This master of landscape painting has traveled very little. The topographic reality does not interest him. He nevertheless paints with great care the textures of meadows, trees and mountains of his imaginary views.
His works are very rare on the art market. The two oils on canvas for sale by Sotheby's in London on December 12 come however from different sources. Both display an illumination of the landscape by a divine source. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
At lot 8, Landschaft mit Gebirgssee am Morgen, 72 x 93 cm, is estimated £ 2M. The scenery is divided into three distinct parts. The foreground is the alp with vegetation and life. The background is the inaccessible and immutable mountain, anticipating Hodler. The lake separates them like a purgatory between earth and heaven.
The lonely man is very tall but his figure looks dwarfed against the lake. The opposite bank is illuminated in its whole length by the sublime beam.
Lot 12, Sonnenblick im Riesengebirge, 26 x 32 cm, is estimated £ 500K. The foreground is a rocky slope on which firs and dead trees alternate in the darkness. The mystical light of the sun begins to hit the mountain on the other side.
These paintings are not dated. Landschaft can be compared to works made circa 1823 by Friedrich from views of the Alps by J.C.C. Dahl. The post quem terminus of Riesengebirge is 1810 when the artist made a walking tour in this mountain range between Silesia and Bohemia. It may have been created around the same time as the Landschaft.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM :
Lot 8 SOLD for £ 2.53M
Lot 12 SOLD for £ 2.17M
1824 John Constable, Painter of Sky and Wind
2012 SOLD 22.4 M£ including premium
His landscapes are common sites in the country, which a photographer could hardly interprete. In this humble subject, he captures the movement: the ever-changing shapes of the clouds, the leaves rustling in the wind. Constable is the magician of the air like Monet, later, will be the magician of water.
The top of the art of Constable is a series of six paintings of the Stour Valley in his native Suffolk, each one preceded by those sketches that are masterpieces in their own right by their search of the expressive qualities of nature.
One of these six paintings is The Lock, 142 x 121 cm, achieved in 1824. The only one still in private hands, it was sold £ 10.8 million including premium by Sotheby's on November 14, 1990, a considerable price at that time for an ancient painting.
It is estimated £ 20M, for sale by Christie's in London on July 3.
POST SALE COMMENT
This painting is exceptional and its price is deserved: £ 22.4 million including premium. The estimate had been well targeted by Christie's.
I invite you to watch the video shared by Christie's.
The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1825 The Son of the Wealthy Miller
2015 SOLD for £ 9.1M including premium
From 1819, the artist gets a highly deserved recognition for his paintings of rural scenery. Now having full confidence in his art, he begins a series in large size of the local landscapes in which he was impregnated since his childhood.
John works slowly in his studio, using his sketches. He expresses altogether the charm of the place, the tranquility of the activity, the ever-changing sky, the wind, the threat of a shower rain. Beginning in 1821 with the Hay Wain, the series around the River Stour is the greatest achievement in the art of English landscape painting, combining a romantic inspiration to an execution in a perfect realism.
The Lock, painted in 1824, is the fifth of the six paintings in this series. Exhibited at the Royal Academy, it is bought on the first day by a collector. This oil on canvas 142 x 121 cm was sold for £ 22.4 million including premium by Christie's on July 3, 2012.
John is a sensitive artist who certainly felt the sale of his painting as a tear to his childhood memories. His personal papers indicate in 1825 that he is completing a copy. This oil on canvas is estimated £ 8M for sale by Sotheby's in London on December 9, lot 44.
Experts see some differences between the two versions, perhaps a sky darker in places which announces the most expressionist landscapes of the following years. I would rather say that the similarity of the two paintings is extremely remarkable, especially since John had not the original version in hands when he made the copy (note added in 2016 : he had his full size sketch which he kept in his studio all along his life). The care with which the artist conceived his compositions is unsurpassable.
The second version had not been painted for the purpose of sale and John kept it all along his life. It was used to prepare the print published in 1834.
I invite you to watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
1827-1838 Audubon by Subscription
2010 SOLD 7.3 M£ including premium
Let's start with the birds. We already know them in the Prints group. Here is (slightly modified) how I summarized the importance of this work:
Lovers of top auctions remember the outstanding results obtained by Christie's in New York on the major work of Audubon, The Birds of America. The four volumes contain 435 hand colored etchings.
These prints are in double elephant folio size, the largest known format for an illustrated book: 100 x 67 cm. The gigantic size is related to the goal that John James Audubon managed for the great work of his life: he wanted all his birds being displayed in their natural habitat in life size, even for the largest. This American had to travel to England to find a publisher: he was Robert Havell, in London. The publication spanned twelve years (1827-1838). Such a duration was not unusual at this time for ambitious books.
The highest price achieved at Christie's, $ 8.8 million including premium, was recorded on March 10, 2000 on a copy constituted by subscription, whose colors remained remarkably fresh.
The copy for sale by Sotheby's, estimated £ 4M, has similar qualities. It was collected by the eleventh subscriber in Audubon's ledger, a paleobotanist from Edinburgh who was convinced of the value of the project during a wine party with the author.
POST SALE COMMENT
Great success for this outstanding book: £ 7.3 million including premium.
1827-1838 The Grocer of Louisville
2019 SOLD for $ 6.6M including premium
He is early trained in taxidermy and participates in one of the earliest attempts of bird ringing. His method is unprecedented. He kills his specimen with a shotgun and straightens it in a natural pose with a wire. Then he draws it life size, often with its female or its prey. He never draws from a stuffed bird.
Audubon goes bankrupt in 1819. Against the advice of his friends but with the support of his wife, he decides to publish his work. American learned societies repel this man from the woods who had ridiculed one of their honorable fellows. In 1826, right in the romantic period, he arrives in England with his collection of watercolors.
The work to be done is colossal. He wants to maintain the 97 x 66 cm format of his drawing sheets but no book has ever been printed in such a big size. The plates should be colored one by one by hand. The only solution is the subscription. He finds in Edinburgh in 1827 a printer, Lizars, to carry out the work. A first booklet of 10 plates, numbered from I to X, is prepared.
There will be no second issue by Lizars, following a strike of the colorists. The business is now entrusted to Havell in London, until the 435th and final plate in 1838. The five volumes of texts are published separately in octavo format between 1831 and 1839.
On December 18 in New York, Sotheby's sells a complete set, in very good condition despite the obscuring of some captions by the binding. It was formed for the subscription of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society received by Audubon in April 1827. Plates I, III, and V to X are in the first state printed by Lizars.
This lot was sold for £ 1.76M including premium by Sotheby's on June 21, 1990. It is now estimated $ 6M, lot 1. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The complete copy assembled around 1838 for the Duke of Portland with some remaining stock includes all the first ten plates in the Lizars edition and is in perfect condition. It was sold for $ 9.7M including premium by Christie's on June 14, 2018. A full set in its original binding, resulting from one of the very first subscriptions, was sold for £ 7.3M including premium by Sotheby's on December 7, 2010.