The Old Masters & 19th Century Art

Artcurial prestigious bi-annual sale.

Comprising more than 180 lots, this auction sale will present a masterpiece with exceptional provenance, Barque de pêche by Jean- François Millet, alongside a German Renaissance painting attributed to Melchior Feselen: Judith bringing the head of Holofernes, and a rediscovered oil on canvas by Jean-François de Troy: Apollon et les muses.

Jean-François de TROY Apollo and the muses
Oil on Canvas , with fretwork – 135 x 100 cm
Est: 100 000 – 150 000 € ©Artcurial

PARIS – On Wednesday 18 November, Artcurial will hold its major sale of Old Masters & 19th Century Art, which takes place twice a year. There will be over 180 works of art on offer, with paintings, drawings and sculptures ranging from a rare German Renaissance panel depicting the story of Judith and Holofernes to an important selection of 19th century works of art. Other highlights to be offered by the auction house include an extraordinary selection of monumental paintings as well as pieces from the Donon-Maigret Collection that highlights a predilection for French 18th century art inherited from Dormeuil. The second part of this collection will be offered in the Furniture & Works of Art sale on 9 December.

Judith and Holofernes and other Renaissance masterpieces

A highlight of the sale on 18 November will be a magnificent example of the enigmatic production of German Renaissance painters : an oil on board depicting Judith carrying the head of Holofernes, attributed to Melchior Feselen (est: 400 000 – 600 000 €). While the subject of this small painting is well known – the biblical heroine Judith, who slaughtered the tyrant Holofernes – the manner in which it has been executed, employing a portrait format tightly framed around the bust of the characters, is more unusual and striking. The date it was painted is shown on the fortified door: 1535. This is a particularly rare and early German Renaissance piece that is highly original for the way it combines an elegant and refined style with a harsh realist approach.

Attributed to Melchior FESELEN Judith bringing the head of Holophernes
oil on lindn panel, two plates – 51 x 39 cm
Est : 400 000 – 600 000 € ©Artcurial

The stunning Deposition from the cross by Ambrosius Benson and his workshop (est:150 000 – 250 000 €), the portrait of Antoine de Bourbon, father of King Henri IV, by Corneille de Lyon (est: 50 000 – 70 000 €), the portrait of Margherita Gonzaga by Frans Pourbus the Younger (est: 70 000 – 100 000 €) and a village fair by Marten van Cleve complete the artistic panorama of the 16th and early 17th century.

A major discovery in the history of art will be unveiled during this special event session: a Penitent Magdalene (pictured above) by Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known as Salaì, an original work by Leonardo da Vinci’s closest collaborator. Identified by art historians, this oil on panel is one of the very few works perfectly recognized as being made by him, impregnated as closely as possible with the technique of the master Leonardo da Vinci with whom he worked (estimated: 100 000-150 000 €).

Marten van CLEVE – Village in Celebration
Oil on oak panel, three palates 77 x 132,50 cm
Est: 120 000 – 180 000 € ©Artcurial

In the field of Old Masters, it is rare for Artcurial to have such a large number of masterpieces on offer. This will be an important event with many discoveries to be made!

Matthieu Fournier,Auctioneer, Associate Director, Artcurial

The Donon-Maigret Collection, legacy of the Dormeuil taste

Also starring in the sale will be some twenty paintings and drawings from the Donon-Maigret collection. Descended from the Dormeuil family, the preferences of these collectors build on the legacy of the great fashion designer with a strong leaning towards French 18th century art. Artcurial is proud to reveal a vibrant oil on canvas representing Apollon et les muses by Jean-François de Troy, the finest painting to be rediscovered in recent years by this artist, estimated at 100 000 – 150 000 €. There will also be works by Joseph-Marie Vien, Jean-Baptiste Huet, Jean-Baptiste Le Prince and Hubert Robert.

Jean-François de TROY – The faint of Esther
Oil on Canvas – 80 x 101,50 cm Origin: Collection Karl Lagerfeld
Est: 80 000 – 120 000 € ©Artcurial

Coming from a different collection is a representation of L’évanouissement d’Esther, also by Jean-François de Troy and once owned by Karl Lagerfeld (estimate : 80 000 – 120 000 €), as well as a stunning oil on canvas by Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Comédiens italiens dans un parc. This is a rare work by this French artist who is better known for his still life paintings with dead animals and also depictions of exotic animals. It is estimated to fetch between100 000 – 150 000 €.

Jean-Baptiste OUDRY – Italian comedians in a park.
Oil on Canvas – 65,50 x 83 cm Est: 100 000 – 150 000 € ©Artcurial
A selection of monumental paintings

Far from being the prerogative of modern and contemporary artists, it was common for artists to work on a large-scale before the 19th century, whether for tapestry projects or decorative paintings destined to hang in large residences.

An interesting selection of ambitious paintings, measuring between 1.5m to 3m in width or height, will complete the sale, with pieces principally coming from the French school. These include La diseuse de bonne aventure from the studio of François Boucher (est: 50 000 – 70 000 €) and Scène de tempête sur la côte méditerranéenne by Henry d’Arles (est: 40 000 – 60 000 €).

Italian painting will also be represented with a painting from the Florentine school from circa 1630, Lucrèce, created by the circle of Artemisia Gentileschi (est: 60 000 – 80 000 €) as well as the representation of Renaud and Armide by Pietro Liberi (est: 30 000 – 40 000 €). There will also be paintings from the Flemish school such as Garland of flowers, fruits and vegetable framing a landscape by Frans Ykens (est: 50 000 – 70 000 €).

Jean-François MILLET – Barque de pêche – Fishing Boat
Oil on Canvas (Original Canvas) – 32,50 x 41 cm
Est: 400 000 – 600 000 € ©Artcurial
The grand masters of the 19th century

The masters of 19th century French painting will be in the spotlight, highlighted by the oil on canvas Barque de pêche by Jean-François Millet, a fascinating and light-filled painting that is a rare example of his seascapes. It is estimated at 400 000 to 600 000 €. The back of the painting with numerous labels attest to its rich history. Coming from Millet’s studio at the hôtel Marcel Dassault, this painting has been hung on prestigious picture rails alongside timeless masterpieces. Duncan, Desfossés, the Cognacqs are the successive owners of Millet’s Barque de pêche, all known for eclectic tastes that favour the 19th century and the painters active in France who embraced modernism at the turn of the 20th century :

Jean-François Millet – Barque de pêche- Fishing Boat – l verso-©-Artcurial

Another highlight in the sale will be a painting by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux «Why born a slave? » (estimate : 60 000 – 80 000 €). This striking piece bears witness to the artist’s committed approach towards the end of the 19th century at a time when France had abolished slavery for the second time just 20 years earlier. Painted with expressive brushstrokes typical of the style employed by Carpeaux when working on canvas, this recently rediscovered version of « Why born a slave? » can now be added to the body of paintings made by the sculptor depicting his own works. Three sculptures and another painting by the artist will also be presented in the sale.

Jean-Baptiste CARPEAUX «Why born a slave? »
Oil on Canvas (Original Canvas) – 65,50 x 54 cm Est: 60 000 – 80 000 € ©Artcurial

Other major 19th century pieces in the section include La nuit et le jour by Hugues Merle (est: 25 000 – 35 000 €) and Portrait de Jules Watelet enfant au bilboquet by Jules Bastien-Lepage (estimate : 120 000 – 180 000 €). A pen and ink study of a cavalierEtude de cavalier by Eugène Delacroix (esti: 10 000 – 15 000 €) is one of a set of six drawings by the master of Romanticism.

Eugène DELACROIX – Etude de cavalier
Pen and brown ink, traces of black pencil – 16,80 x 20,80 cm
Est: 10 000 – 15 000 € ©Artcurial

Sculptures in the sale include Volubilis in white marble by Alfred Boucher, a piece paying tribute to the work of his friend Auguste Rodin and also to Michelangelo (est: 20 000 – 30 000 €). Another piece, Salammbô, by Théodore Rivière in bronze and ivory coming from the Château de Gourdon collection is estimated at 20 000 – 30 000 €.

THEODORE RIVIERE – Salammbô Bronze and ivory
Origin: Château de Gourdon Collection – Est: 20 000 – 30 000 € ©Artcurial


Auction by Artcurial

Auction: Wednesday 18 November 2020 at 2:30 pm

Viewing: Sunday 14, Monday 16 et Tuesday 17 November 2020

Artcurial – 7, rond-point des Champs-Elysées – 75008 Paris, France