Plus 18th Century Art
not including Canaletto.
Except otherwise stated, all results include the premium.
1732 Roman Pantheon by Panini
2015 SOLD for $ 5.3M by Sotheby's
Giovanni Paolo Panini was admitted into the Congregazione in 1719 at the age of 28 years. He was already an important figure in the Roman art world, being since the same year a professor at the Accademia di San Luca.
Panini had been trained in the decoration of the palaces and was familiar with trompe l'oeil techniques. In painting, he specialized in capricci of ruins and ancient monuments. Unlike the Venetian vedutisti he reconstructed the ancient sites in whimsical juxtapositions.
Panini executed several paintings showing the interior of the Pantheon. The earliest known, oil on canvas 119 x 98 cm dated 1732, was sold for $ 5.3M from a lower estimate of $ 3M by Sotheby's on January 29, 2015, lot 91.
Various characters are busy to pray, beg or chat in the great hall. They are scattered for accentuating the grandiose effect. The artist is sensitive to the geometrical feat of this place where the inner diameter of the dome and the height of the oculus have exactly the same size, 43.3 m. The figures that appear in the opening of the vestibule and in the oculus are on the same scale.
1733-1735 L'Ouvrière en Tapisserie by Chardin
2013 SOLD for $ 4M by Christie's
Now he wants to earn a living. Still life, even well made, sold poorly. The fashion of the time, in those years following the Régence, is to licentiousness. Boldly, he chose a totally opposite way.
In the early 1730s, Chardin made his first genre scenes, based like those from the old Dutch masters on peaceful household themes. But he disliked the movement and the anecdotes. His figures are frozen in a static position. For the first time probably in the history of art, the texture becomes more important than the subject.
He made a very honorable career, but nobody understood him. Diderot said that "no one he knew had ever seen Chardin paint" (quoted by Christie's). His contemporaries were unable to follow him, but we may now see in his work some roots of modern art through Cézanne and Matisse.
To demonstrate the above, l'ouvrière en tapisserie (embroiderer) is an excellent example. Although the size is very small, 19 x 17 cm, the texture of embroidery, cap, apron are remarkably fine, with a touch anticipating Monet and Van Gogh.
One of the early examples of this scene designed around 1733-1735 was sold for $ 4M from a lower estimate of $ 3M by Christie's on January 30, 2013, lot 38.
1736 Marquis de Gouvernet by Bouchardon
2012 SOLD for € 3.75M by Aguttes
After making beautiful busts of Popes and of Roman dignitaries, he was commissioned in France for a bust of the Marquis de Gouvernet, governor of Montélimar. Dated 1736, this marble 78 cm high had remained since that time in the family of the model. It was sold for € 3.75M on June 11, 2012 by Aguttes, preempted by the Musée du Louvre. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The marquis, 42 years old, bare chest, head up, is proud as a Roman emperor. He is however also a man of his time through the thick hair falling over the shoulders. The result is remarkably realistic, as the artist intended.
1739 Grand Canal by Bellotto
2012 SOLD for £ 3.3M by Sotheby's
For a long time, his views of Venice were confused with the productions of the workshop of his uncle. Bernardo at the beginning of his career is however appreciated today as one of the most original vedutisti.
A pair of his early oils on canvas made around 1739 were among the first to be reassigned to Bellotto. They have been separated. One of them, 60 x 92 cm, was sold for £ 3.3M from a lower estimate of £ 1.2M by Sotheby's on December 5, 2012, lot 47.
It is a general view of the Grand Canal taken from the Rialto bridge. The animation is intense on water and banks. The flat boats of daily life dominate the gondolas.
The main feature of this work is the use of the contrasting light from the extreme hours of the day. We now consider that the bold style of the very young painter had a deep influence on his uncle, so contributing to Canaletto's considerable commercial success in the next two decades.
Shortly afterwards, the path of the two artists separated. Bellotto left Venice in 1742 to export the vedutism in the major cities of Europe.
1744 Henri III at the Villa Contarini by Giambattista Tiepolo
2012 SOLD for $ 5.9M by Christie's
At one time long ago, Contarini welcomed a king. In 1574, Henri de Valois was King of Poland, when the death of his brother Charles IX made him heir to the kingdom of France. The haste with which he came back to Paris to become Henri III was criticized and was prejudicial to his reputation.
In that time, travels, even in a hurry, were long and not direct! This prince between two thrones spent ten days in Venice, which received him with luxurious ceremonies.
Pisani remembered that story, and ordered a fresco to Giambattista Tiepolo, then the best specialist in great decorative works in Venice, on the theme of the arrival of Henri III at the Villa Contarini. This work is now in Paris at the Musée Jacquemart-André.
An oil on canvas, 72 x 107 cm , is a preparatory work and probably a modello for the mural, but its detail and quality make it an outstanding piece by this artist. It was sold for $ 5.9M from a lower estimate of $ 4M by Christie's on January 25, 2012.
Henri was there with his retinue, in an architected surrounding. On both sides, the colorful and lively crowd takes advantage of this opportunity to display luxurious clothes of satin and silk. This painting must also be interpreted as a tribute by Tiepolo to his predecessors of Henri's time, the architect Palladio and the painter Veronese.
1762 Giandomenico TIEPOLO
2017 SOLD for £ 3.1M by Christie's
His art is in high demand and he is assisted by his two sons. The elder, Giandomenico, takes opportunity of these bucolic stays to observe a surprising mix of nobles, peasants and actors.
Circa 1762 Giandomenico Tiepolo painted a pair of oils on canvas 33 x 49 cm, separated some years ago.
The Minuet is danced by the nobles, recognizable by their beautiful clothes and the velvet masks of the women. This painting was sold by Christie's for £ 1.3M on December 6, 2007 and for £ 3.1M on July 6, 2017, lot 22.
Giandomenico amused without seeking to express a social criticism, unlike Hogarth. By its animation and its fine lines, this village scene also anticipates by several decades the drawings and paintings by Goya or Boilly.
2014 SOLD for $ 3.65M by Christie's
1765 Sacrifice au Minotaure by Fragonard
2023 SOLD for € 5.7M by Artcurial
In 1765 at 33 years old, his piece of reception at the Académie Royale was a mythological Coresus et Callirrhoé, of which King Louis XV ordered a Gobelins tapestry.
In the same year the artist conceived another Baroque theme of exacerbated passions. A group of young Athenian people and their parents are attending the sorting of who among them will be devoured by the Minotaur. A young woman in white dress is fainting after being attributed the bad ticket. Her mother in the foreground is desperate like Mary during the Crucifixion and the non elected attendants are relieved from their anguish without compassion for the designated victim. In the stormy sky, an allegory of the fate holds a trident.
A modello was sketched, certainly for being submitted to the King. Titled Un Sacrifice antique, dit Le sacrifice au Minotaure, this oil on canvas 72 x 91 cm was sold for € 5.7M from a lower estimate of € 4M by Artcurial on November 22, 2023, lot 77. Please watch the video shared by the auction house. The surrounding in a park and the vivid attitudes and colors remind Watteau.
No finished work was started, possibly because Fragonard long waited to be paid for the Coresus et Callirrhoé. That mood for antique passions follows by three years the Orpheus and Eurydice opera released in Vienna by Gluck.
1767-1769 La Jeune Fille au Chapeau by Fragonard
2023 SOLD for € 3.25M by Boisgirard-Antonini
Another oil on canvas had the same addressee, an inscription on the reverse of the frame by Fragonard to an unidentified Mme R. It has just resurfaced, forgotten by a family under a heavy layer of grime.
Fortunately that old dust had protected the pigments against corrosion. The colors appear very fresh after the restoration. Its technique is typical of Fragonard around 1767-1769 with an overloaded brush, sometimes also painting with his fingers.
This Jeune fille au chapeau in bust length turns her head downwards with a nice childish gaze and smile. The large sun hat in the fashion of the period brings some mild shadow on the forehead. It was sold for € 3.25M from a lower estimate of € 400K by Boisgirard-Antonini on December 21, 2023, lot 196.
Chapeau bas pour Fragonard ! □— Drouot (@Drouot) December 21, 2023
La Jeune fille au chapeau de Jean-Honoré Fragonard emporte plus de 3 millions aux enchères chez @boisgirard à l'Hôtel Drouot □
Inédite sur le marché, cette toile est une incroyable découverte qui provient de la même collection que le Philosophe. pic.twitter.com/in9Mm3eIrz
1787 Diana and Callisto by Gandolfi
2010 SOLD for $ 4.1M by Christie's
One of his most important works is a pair of paintings made to order for an anonymous Russian client. It is attested by a letter from Mauro Gandolfi who desired to find the preparatory drawings made by his father.
The patron is now identified with a strong presumption as a prince Yusupov who was ambassador to Turin and had a great collection of modern paintings. The appointment of this aristocrat as an honorary member of the Accademia Clementina in Bologna in 1787 provides a plausible date to the commission executed by Gandolfi.
The two oil paintings of the same size 148 x 170 cm resurfaced separately. Their processing of the theme of love is in opposition.
Diana and Callisto was sold by Christie's for $ 4.1M on January 27, 2010 from a lower estimate of $ 800K, lot 29. The chaste goddess is a vigilante refusing an amnesty to Callisto naked by the nymphs to reveal her pregnancy. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
The Birth of Venus is the classic episode of fertility and hope. The fully grown newborn goddess rises out of her shell to entice her surrounding. This painting was sold for $ 2.63M by Christie's on April 14, 2016, lot 115.