from Louis XVIII to Second Empire
Chronology : 1810-1819 1820-1829 1830-1839 1840-1849 1860-1869
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.
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 image is shared by Wikimedia.
1830 The Sketch of Democracy
2017 SOLD for £ 3.1M including premium
The path he chooses is difficult : without any figure of famous personality in the opposite of David and Gros, Delacroix will have to demonstrate his own genius to find patrons. The contemporaries do not like the dirt of his war characters. His realism anticipates Courbet.
In 1830 violent events also happen in Paris. The barricades of the Trois Glorieuses (three glorious days) transfer the French monarchy from the Bourbons to the Orléans. Delacroix had no reason to participate in this new revolution : both branches of the royal family were his clients.
Overcome in the usual competitions of that time on predetermined historical themes, Delacroix feels that he can be the first to express the heroic atmosphere of the Trois Glorieuses to please the new regime.
Already about the Greek war Delacroix had shown fighting and harmed people, and also a feminine Victory inspired by ancient art as a separate artwork. For the Trois Glorieuses he has the very innovative idea of mixing the two themes in a single heroic painting of very large size. He immediately begins to prepare drawings.
Success is mixed. Exhibited in 1831 at the Salon de Paris under the slightly bland title Scènes de Barricades, the oil painting 260 x 325 cm also known as 28 Juillet is bought by the king and then retracted by a minister after a few months with the very understandable excuse that it was an incitement to riot. Accepted by the Louvre at the beginning of the Troisième République, this Liberté guidant le peuple becomes the symbol of democracy.
On December 14 in London, Christie's sells a 64 x 85 cm canvas which is certainly the very first oil sketch made by Delacroix for his Liberté. It is estimated £ 700K, lot 8. Remaining traces of a change of orientation of the canvas allow to state that this painting is autograph. It is a precious testimony of the creative process for one of the most universally admired masterpieces of French art.
1834 Choc de Cavaliers Arabes by Delacroix
1998 SOLD for FF 51M including premium by Piasa
narrated in 2020
In 1834 the oil on canvas Femmes d'Alger dans leur Appartement is the masterpiece of this new exoticism. It recreates the living room of a harem by featuring women from Paris dressed in Algiers fashion. The painting which indirectly addresses the taboo theme of prostitution is accepted at the Salon and immediately purchased by the Louvre. Picasso will compare this mixture of genres to his own Demoiselles d'Avignon.
In the same year, Choc de Cavaliers Arabes is a memory of a military celebration. The artist shows the moment of heightened energy when two riders stop their galloping horses after having fired the rifle shot required by the fantasia. The theme did not appeal to the Parisian jury : this piece was rejected by the Salon. Influenced directly by Géricault and Gros, Delacroix excelled in the representation of horses.
This oil on canvas 80 x 100 cm was sold by Piasa on June 19, 1998 for FF 51M, equivalent to € 7.7M, including premium, from a lower estimate of FF 8M.
The rejection by the Salon did not discourage the artist : two autograph drawings were made in 1834 in reverse composition to prepare the lithographic edition. One of them, 18 x 25 cm, was sold for € 39K including premium by Artcurial on June 16, 2020.
1835 The Clock of the Duc d'Orléans
2012 SOLD 6.8 M$ including premium
In 1795, Abraham-Louis Breguet imagines the combination of a clock and a watch. This outstanding inventor manages later to achieve this stupendous set known as Breguet Sympathique.
After being used during the day, the watch is repositioned in a cradle at the top of the clock. At midnight, the clock triggers a mechanism that enters the watch, measures and rectifies the error. After a few days, the value of the error is integrated into the beat of the watch and its adjustment becomes automatic.
When Breguet died in 1823, five copies have been made. Only kings can afford to own such an expensive mechanism.
Being an extremely remote cousin of Charles X, Louis Philippe I becomes King of France after a revolution. His eldest son, the duc d'Orléans, is a brilliant prince who would like to live again in the luxury of the Ancien Régime. He commissions his sympathique clock to the Breguet workshop. It is completed in 1835.
Luxury adds to technical feat. 58 cm high, the piece is made in the imitation of Boulle style which is so fashionable in that time, in a cabinet by Bellangé and with Denière bronzes on a design by Questel.
The clock and the watch of this set have not been separated. Having been restored to operation by George Daniels, it provides an exceptional demonstration of one of the most advanced ideas of automatism.
POST SALE COMMENT
Again a great and deserved price for this fabulous clock: $ 6.8 million including premium.
1845 Corot above the Fireplace
2018 SOLD for $ 9M including premium
Nobody is really convinced by the art of Corot until the young Baudelaire, in 1845, observes that the simplicity of his landscapes is not naive but is instead a supreme harmony. As a result Corot's art is forever unclassifiable, between classicism and modernism. Despite his pleasure in open-air painting, he cannot be considered as a forerunner of the Impressionnistes, in the opposite of Boudin and Courbet slightly later.
Throughout his life Corot has a lot of friends. He supplies paintings to a magistrate of Mantes whom he met from 1840 and decorates in his own hand the walls of the bathroom with Italian views.
Corot had visited Venice in 1828 and 1834. For the same friend he painted in 1845 an enlarged version in the format 48 x 82 cm of a view of the quay of the Schiavoni towards Santa Maria della Salute.
In 1957 this painting caught the attention of David Rockefeller. It is not a Canaletto : the animation is poor. It is not a Guardi : the sky is too blue. It is neither a Turner nor a Monet : the line is too sharp to offer an atmosphere. Despite the confusing perspective on the Piazzetta, it is not a wide-angle photo. The erroneous shadows of earlier versions of this image have fortunately been rectified.
This bright painting has two other qualities : it exudes a great serenity and its width is in harmony with the fireplace of the library in the country house at Hudson Pines. It superseded at this place a Jas de Bouffan by Cézanne of which Rockefeller was tired and was to remain there until his death. It is estimated $ 5M for sale by Christie's in New York on May 8, lot 4.
1862 The Darings of Courbet
2015 SOLD for $ 15.3M including premium
He is provocative. Taking the format of an epic painting on a large size, 315 x 668 cm, L'Enterrement à Ornans makes a scandal in 1850. Proudhon is delighted.
The second empire, decreed in 1852, marks the return in France of a prudish censorship that sends its policemen against a pornography now facilitated by photography. For the artists opponent to the regime of Napoléon III, the nude becomes a challenge.
The deliberate ugliness enters the theme of the nude in 1853 with Les Baigneuses by Courbet. Even Ingres, yet close to the government, is interested in this new approach. His Bain Turc, on which he worked for ten years, is an unprecedented erotic accumulation that takes Orientalism as an excuse to avoid reprisals.
On November 9 in New York, Christie's sells a Femme nue couchée, oil on canvas 75 x 97 cm painted by Courbet in 1862, lot 10A estimated $ 15M.
The woman viewed in full length is reclining on a bed, her head turned in a rest position, looking like some replica of the Venus of Urbino but without the discreet hand. Her offering attitude and the half undone stocking reveal that a sexual activity was just completed. The provocation of the picture is increased by a surrounding in romanticist style with a curtain and a landscape.
Such women by Courbet represent a milestone in modern French painting. On one hand, new private customers invite Courbet to even more daring pictures. On the other hand, Manet does not hesitate to confront the scandal with Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe and Olympia.
1862 Portrait of the Artist as an Old Tiger
2018 SOLD for $ 9.9M including premium
The artist appreciates that passion is not a human exclusivity and he loves the powerful savagery of tigers and lions. A great admirer of Rubens, he is inspired by the whirlwind of his hunting scenes.
An artist needs real models, although Dürer's rhinoceros is a wonderful exception. Géricault is passionate about horses and Raden Saleh remembers big game hunting. For his tigers and lions, Delacroix looks at his pet cat and at stuffed animals in the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle. Fortunately the menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes hosts a tiger from 1847.
In 1862 the artist feels old and tired. The tiger remained his emblem and his friends flatter him by comparing his behavior with the anthropocentric emotions attributed to this animal. Delacroix imagines confrontations with reptiles. Facing the threat of the snake, the big cat no longer knows how he can still win.
On May 8 in New York, Christie's sells Tigre jouant avec une tortue, oil on canvas 45 x 62 cm painted in 1862, lot 3 estimated $ 5M.
As ever the animal behavior is fanciful. A fully grown tiger no longer plays because game is used by cubs to train in hunting. This one with a paw on the tortoise is stopping as if he waited some advice. The tortoise disturbed and threatened by the predator omitted to close its shell.
François de Ricqlès, President of Christie’s France, explains how this exceptional Romantic work that ‘marks the beginning of modernity’ also speaks to the Rockefeller family’s long and mutually admiring relationship with France. Check it out here: https://t.co/8QpCJrNHVH pic.twitter.com/alUUMid0bs— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) March 25, 2018
1870 Gérôme in the Desert
2019 SOLD for £ 3.14M including premium
Gérôme is also a tourist passionate about Greece, Turkey and Egypt. In 1868 with a small group of artists, he makes a long excursion in the desert, crossing the Sinai to the Gulf of Aqaba. His brother-in-law Albert Goupil is the photographer of this small expedition. In 1869 Gérôme is part of a delegation that attends the inauguration of the Suez Canal.
Gérôme's paintings interpret the arid sands and the overwhelming heat, an achievement that the black and white photography of the period could not do. As with the historical themes, the characters are stereotyped or picturesque.
On October 22 in London, Sotheby's sells a scene of riders crossing the desert, oil on panel 41 x 56 cm painted in 1870, lot 14 estimated £ 3M. This image was edited in photogravure by Goupil in 1878.
The foreground features three horsemen moving away from the dunes. The bearded old man is certainly the leader. The realistic image is also highlighting the famous beauty of the Arabian horses.
The scene is completed in the background by characters on foot or camel de-focused by the sand dust. All go in the same direction, bringing the dynamic impression of a coordinated movement. They are quiet but some wear a sword. The darker blue almost indistinguishable in the distance is probably Aqaba.
Gérôme cannot restrain himself from adding the tragedy. With a horse dying of overheat in a scenery similar to the example above, a rider in the desert, oil on canvas 60 x 101 painted in 1872, was sold for £ 1.15M including premium by Sotheby's on April 30, 2019.
سوذبيز @Sothebys تعرض 40 عملاً فنياً، في 22 اكتوبر، من لوحات المستشرقين لتاريخ العالم الإسلامي مُجسدةً كل جانب من جوانب الحياة في المنطقة بتفاصيل تقنية متميزة.— يوسف الحربي (@yousifalharbi) September 6, 2019
*لوحة راكبي الخيل في مصر قدرت بـ6 مليون دولار للفنان الفرنسي جان ليون جيروم pic.twitter.com/KS1O1ItMDl
1870 Courbet on Seaside
2013 SOLD 3.75 M$ including premium
In his career, he is the contemporary and the opposite of Corot. Corot likes to seduce and Courbet loves to shock. Corot maintains an extensive customer base, but for whom is Courbet working ?
Photography disrupts the graphic arts. After Delacroix, Courbet uses it. The style of the painter must go further, be more emotional than the simple optical imaging. In 1865, his art influences a younger artist named Claude Monet who is willing to promote plein air painting.
Is it a coincidence ? Monet grew up in Le Havre and Courbet, suddenly, looks at Etretat, the most beautiful site of cliffs in the Pays de Caux, and at the raging waves of the Channel. Courbet's painting is then soaked in the sun and becomes clear and bright.
On November 6 in New York, Sotheby's sells a view of Etretat painted by Courbet in 1870. This oil on canvas estimated $ 2M is shown in the press release shared by ArtDaily .
From an artistic point of view, Courbet had the capacity to become the leader of the new French painting. His appetite for a social revolution sent him into exile in 1871 after his controversial attitude during the Paris Commune.
The size of this painting is 65 x 81 cm.
POST SALE COMMENT
Very good price for this interesting pre-Impressionist landscape: $ 3.75 million including premium.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's :