The battle for bidding at Old Master’s auctions is not entirely unprecedented, but it is not as frequent or explosive as the battle for selling contemporary art. So this week, it was a pleasant surprise when the still life of a mountain of strawberries burned the sales floor in Paris.
Title work Wild strawberry basket And painting According to 18th-century French artist Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, Artcurial earns a premium of $ 26.8 million (€ 24.4 million) on March 23, far beyond the high estimate of $ 16.5 million (€ 15 million). Soared beyond. (The pre-sale quote does not include the price.)
The purchaser was Adam Williams, an art dealer in New York. Art newspaper..
The final price set a new auction record for the artist and broke the previous record of $ 8 million, which was achieved just a few months ago. La Fontaine At Christie’s Paris, according to the Artnet Price Database. Artcurial said the result was a record of 18th-century French paintings sold at auction.
So what makes the job special?
Harry Smith, Executive Chairman of Art Advisory Gurr Johns, said the consensus was:Absolutely wonderful. ” This is because it is the only still life of strawberries known in Chardin.
“That type of still life was the father of all the great still lifes of the late 19th century,” Smith said, citing the work of Cezanne and Manet. “All these beautiful works look back on Chardin. He was unique in France in the sense that he didn’t have to make magnificent Rococo portraits like Boucher and Fragonard. Instead, he himself. His job is wonderfully simple, just doing that very quietly. “
Smith has a price Perfectly appropriate.
“At the price of Chardin, You can get halfway to Cezanne, which is the best Chardin you can buy, “he said. “It seemed like a lot, but I don’t think it’s going to be expensive. I think it’s a great photo. Adam is a lucky guy.”
The record for Cezanne’s still life at the auction is $ 60.5 million. Rido, Kurshon and Compotier (Around 1893), sold in 1999 at Sotheby’s New York as part of the John Hay Whitney collection.
Chardin, the son of a furniture craftsman, was born in Paris in 1699 and rarely left the city. He lived on the left bank near Saint-Sulpice until 1757 when Louis XV gave him the studio of the Louvre.
According to Artcurial, Chardin often painted about 120 still lifes, often the same objects, especially goblets, teapots, hares, plums, melons, and peaches.
The strawberry painting was exhibited at the Salon in 1761, and after being rediscovered a century later, it was not shown until several 20th-century retrospective exhibitions were held in Paris. over time, Wild strawberry basket It became one of France’s most famous and iconic images of the 18th century and was regularly duplicated in artist-specific catalogs.
The work eventually became one of the masterpieces of the Marcil collection of about 4,500 paintings, including 40 canvases of Boucher, 30 canvases of Chardin and 25 canvases of Fragonard.
according to Art newspaper, Old Master painting specialist Eric Takin advised on the sale and created a catalog entry. He also said the bidders were a gallery that bid on a private collector in London and Eric Coatarem, a dealer in Paris, whose interest “pushed the photo to € 15 million.” Mr. Takin said he would receive a portion of the sale price.
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