1684 Stradivari in the Following of Amati
2017 SOLD for £ 1.92M including premium
Formal business relations between the two workshops are not known but a 1666 label suggests that Stradivari began his career as an apprentice ('alumnus') to Amati.
Amati had been a great innovator and experimenter, identifying how a tiny variation in the shape or size of a violin generates considerable differences in the sound. He had also tried to develop an optimized varnish. Stradivari analyzes the solutions found by the old master. He will be considered from 1690 as the most important designer and manufacturer of violins of all time.
On March 28 in London, Ingles and Hayday sells a stradivarius violin, lot 28 estimated over £ 1,3M. The instrument bears an original label inscribed 'Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1684' and presents all the characteristics of this very important period which launched the career of the master then 40 years old.
This violin had surfaced in the mid-1880s in the very active musical circles in Edinburgh and is now identified as the Ex Croall McEwen specimen. Used regularly in concert in the last thirty years, it offers important references in discography from 1985 to 1990 with the young soloist Frank Peter Zimmermann.
Please watch the video shared by the auction house:
1685 A Bureau Mazarin at the Time of Bérain
2015 SOLD for € 1.5M including premium
Oppenordt is a contemporary of Boulle but also of Bérain who introduced in the furnishing a new style of decoration based on arabesques.
The pair of bureaux delivered by Oppenordt in 1685 for a utility room named the Petit Cabinet du Roi is the only furniture attributed with certainty to him. They are desks with eight braced feet in two groups and three columns of two drawers each, the central column being set back to move a chair forward. This model very common in the seventeenth century in France is known as Bureau Mazarin.
The piece in première partie is at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The piece in seconde partie with brass and red shell was heightened as a bureau de pente (with a tilted desktop) in the nineteenth century by a Baron de Rothschild, severing in this operation part of the Bérain style decoration but bringing an undeniable elegance of shape. This furniture is estimated € 800K for sale in Paris (Drouot) by Fraysse on November 18, lot 130. Here is the link to the auction house's website.
1687 The Universal Philosophy revealed to the World
2016 SOLD for $ 3.7M including premium
One of his outstanding skills was to develop mathematical methods of high complexity to analyze and support his own physical theories. Even before he was 30, he compared the motion of the planets and the fall of the bodies. Essentially preoccupied with his own understanding of the mechanism of the universe, he published sparingly.
In 1684 in London, the scientists of the Royal Society challenged themselves to find the mathematical formulation of the law of motion of the planets described by Kepler. All failed. Halley visits Newton in Cambridge. He is stunned : Newton knows the solution but has lost his calculation notes. The orbital movement of a celestial body is an ellipse whose position of the other body is one of the foci.
The scientific stake is highly important and Halley manages to persuade Newton to disclose in their entirety his results concerning the law of universal gravitation. Edited and financed by Halley, Newton's Latin book entitled Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica is published in 1687 with the imprimatur of the Royal Society.
The book is difficult in the opinion of the author himself and the circulation probably did not exceed 300 copies but it is of such scientific importance that Halley and Newton took care of organizing their sale through booksellers. One of them named Samuel Smith is more specifically entrusted to the supply onto the Continent and receives about 50 copies for that purpose.
On December 14 in New York, Christie's sells a copy in a luxury binding in inlaid morocco, presented in that state by Smith to an unidentified recipient. It is estimated $ 1M, lot 167.
Another association copy with a binding of a comparable luxury is known. It was offered to King James II, patron of the Royal Society. This book was sold for $ 2.5M including premium by Christie's on December 6, 2013 over a lower estimate of $ 400K.
1688 André Charles Boulle, the Pioneer of Prestige
2009 SOLD 2.6 M£ including premium
In the 1680s, his creativity is immense. He brings the elegance into the apartments of the princes. The royal orders came later.
His furniture is perfect, by their form, decoration and material. Until the sale at Christie's in London on July 9, three of them were gathered in Wrotham Park, a residence of the English aristocracy, where they had arrived nearly two centuries ago.
We must not be surprised by the diversity of forms of Boulle furniture. The models for this great experimenter were mostly from his own inspiration, and his most brilliant creations were imitated to generate the French style. Our three pieces are cabinets high placed on carved stands : a pair of sarcophagus-shaped coffers made to 1688 and a cabinet with drawers which is even older, circa 1680.
The decor here includes all that is best in the inlaid Boulle marquetry, with its famous inclusions of brass, pewter and tortoiseshell.
The coffers are sold as a pair on a low estimate of £ 2.5 million. The cabinet, perhaps less easy to sell because of its more extensive changes in the late eighteenth century, is estimated 700 K £.
POST SALE COMMENT
£ 2.6 million including premium for the pair of coffers. It is a great auction result for furniture, although the low estimate has not been reached. The press release states that this lot was purchased by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
The cabinet does not follow them: it was not sold. I had explained why it would be more difficult to sell. This confirms that the detailed reading of the catalog is essential to judge the importance of furniture.
1690 The Learned Leisure of the Kangxi Emperor
2016 SOLD for HK$ 49M including premium
Kangxi had about 130 seals for identifying his consultation of documents or expressing his opinion. The soapstone, easy to carve and in nice shade, was used extensively during his reign thanks to a new abundance of this mineral. His successors will prefer the jade.
On April 6 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells as lot 3102 a Kangxi seal in soapstone.
The mark 5.9 x 5.9 cm is clear, symbolic and effective. The central inscription indicates Yuanjianzhai as the location of its use. This inscription is flanked left and right with the undulating silhouettes of the tiger and the dragon and terminated at both ends by the symbols of heaven and earth, yin and yang, between which the emperor himself is the only intercessor.
This seal may have been shown in 1690 to the missionary Jean-François Gerbillon. Invited in the Yangxingdian to inspect the imperial seals, he observed that a possibility of textual and graphical duality was practiced in very few marks.
The Yuanjianzhai seal is topped in a lighter hue of the soapstone with a mythical beast that is altogether powerful and caring, for an overall height of 6.9 cm from that piece.
1691-1697 The Assimilation of the Southern Provinces
2016 SOLD for $ 9.5M including premium
Kangxi is not afraid to go to war but prefers peace. His tours are opportunities to link with the Four Occupations in their local particularities : gentry, peasants, craftsmen and merchants. The loyalty to the Emperor requires to understand and to be understood. Kangxi is a great statesman, lucid, responsible and effective.
The second trip took place during the 29th year of the reign, 1689 in our calendar. It was fruitful and promising and they must preserve its memory. An imperial decree orders the execution of a scroll divided into twelve parts showing in a continuity the steps of the long journey.
The project is politically important and an administrator is appointed. The artistic supervision is entrusted to Wang Hui, a renowned artist familiar with the southern landscapes.
For six years, the team of artists applies strictly on a silk strip 68 cm high the detailed instructions of Master Wang concerning the topographic features, the more or less close distance to villages and mountains, the actions of the emperor and the daily life of the people.
The overall length of the twelve scrolls, completed around the 37th year of the reign, is 200 meters. Two of the twelve scrolls are not located. The sixth scroll was divided in France circa the 1930s. Its fragments are the only elements of the set in private hands. At least two fragments of the sixth scroll are still missing.
Three fragments were auctioned by Briscadieu-Bordeaux in 2013 and 2014. One of them including dock scenes was sold for € 3,36M including premium on 27 April 2013.
The longest fragment of the sixth scroll, measuring 4.75 m, is estimated $ 4M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on September 14, lot 576. In a bird's-eye view demonstrating a remarkable control of the topographic representation, boats travel around the many islands of a river.
The tweet pasted below shows a detail. Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's :
1693 A Little Clock for Queen Mary
2019 SOLD for £ 1.93M including premium
Aware of the quality of his production, Tompion numbered his instruments, an exceptional practice in his time for a manufactured product. He mixes in a single serialization list the table clocks and the long case clocks. His clocks have a long autonomy. His grande sonnerie pieces offer a repetition of quarters over a long duration.
From 1692 or 1693 Tompion improves the elegance of his design with his Phase Two which includes the cushion dome, the thistle bud handle, the bellflower keyhole and the operation of the mechanism from the front face.
The master seems more interested in standardization than in miniaturization. Nevertheless Number 215 appears as the first of a small series of Phase Two table clocks with a total height of 28 cm including the raised handle. It was sold for £ 170K including premium by Bonhams on December 13, 2011.
Number 222, made especially for Queen Mary II in 1693 and known as the Q Clock, is the smallest clock ever made by Tompion with an ebony case. It is 20 cm high overall with the handle raised. It offers the quarter repetition and an autonomy of eight days.
Re-assembled in 1949 by a collector with its original movement, the Q Clock was sold for £ 440K including premium by Christie's on June 30, 1993. It will be sold by Bonhams in London on June 19, lot 103. The May 20 press release is announcing for this silver mounted royal clock an estimate in excess of £ 2M. A modern replica is joined to the lot.
Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
We are delighted to announce that one of the most valuable clocks ever to appear at auction, The King William & Queen Mary Royal Tompion, will star in The Clive Collection of Exceptional Clocks in London on 19 June.https://t.co/6ufWtyi4Ax pic.twitter.com/ROoThd69zu— Bonhams (@bonhams1793) May 20, 2019
1695 A Butterfly in the Still Life of Adriaen Coorte
2014 SOLD for £ 3.45M including premium
The still lifes by Coorte have neither predecessor nor successor. Most of them show an arrangement of fruit or asparagus on the corner of a stone ledge. From the mid 1690s, his very unusual practice of oil on paper glued on canvas or panel reinforces the assumption that the author is not a professional artist.
The butterfly appears in the same period. In flight, its wings fully open or closed do not bring realism in the composition, following the lush positioning of small animals in the art of van Kessel.
In contrast to the exuberance of van Kessel, Coorte is a minimalist. The careful texture of the fruit with stems and leaves is the unique theme of the composition, but he likes the vertical formats and the butterfly comes to cleverly break the monotony of the upper part of the picture.
Such a decorative research based on a humble iconography anticipates Chardin's researches while no link can be imagined between the Middelburg amateur and the French artist of the following century.
A paper on panel 31 x 23 cm, undated but realized around 1695, showing three peaches and a butterfly, was sold for £ 2.05M including premium by Bonhams on 7 December 2011. This painting is now estimated £ 2M, for sale by Sotheby's in London on December 3, lot 37. The image is shared by Wikimedia:
1696 The Maturity of Stradivarius
2013 SOLD 1.4 M£ including premium
On December 18 online from London, Tarisio sells a violin made by Stradivari in Cremona, dated 1696 by its label, with a starting bid of £ 1M.
This is a fine example of violin with a normal back length of 35.4 cm. It is similar in style to the Molitor of 1697 which was sold for $ 3.6 million by Tarisio on October 14, 2010. Its back is in flamed maple, a recognizable variety which was also used on a 1696 viola and on the 1698 Baron Knoop violin.
Great instruments do not stay in the showcases and their careers with the musicians are often full of adventures and anecdotes. The violin for sale retains its original label, but its provenance is unknown until its authentication by an expert in 2000.
It was acquired soon afterward by a young soloist, and was stolen in 2010 in London in a railway station cafe. It was retrieved undamaged a few months ago, but its owner could not have waited for so long. She now has another Stradivarius, which explains why her former instrument enters the market.
POST SALE COMMENT
The Stradivarius violin was sold for £ 1.2M before fees.
I invite you to view the video shared by ITV where the violin is introduced by a manager of the auction house :
1697 Molitor Stradivarius violin
2010 SOLD for $ 3.6M by Tarisio
1697-1699 Hercules and Atlas in Augsburg
2010 SOLD 1.75 M€ including premium
On April 13 the same auction house is selling in one lot estimated 600 K € two silver globes made in Augsburg between 1697 and 1699, signed by Abraham II Drentwett.
The terrestrial globe is raised by Hercules and the celestial globe by Atlas. The characters and the spheres are in silver and the circles of the globes in silver gilt, for a total height of 24 cm and a weight of 2200 grams for the set. Globes are finely carved, and their maps are consistent with the geographical and celestial knowledge of their time.
The catalog does not advertise this set as a pair, as it was originally a series of three figures, described by a publication in 1912. The statue of Saturn holding the armillary sphere has not kept pace.
POST SALE COMMENT
Augsburg silver art is unclassifiable, between the major art of sculpture and that of the highest decoration. Buyers have recognized the exceptional qualities of this pair of globes: 1.75 M € including premium.