On 9th June 2021, the Old Master & 19th Century Art department will hold an important auction: From Italy to France, a European Passion. Among the many artists presented at this auction, we invite you to discover a selection of artworks from this session.
The collection will first present a pair of oil paintings on canvas by Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre: Moses Saved from the Waters and Moses defending Jethro’s Daughters (Estimate: €150,000 – 200,000). First painter to the Duke d'Orléans since 1752, professor at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, he received many prestigious commissions, notably for decorations for the King and Queen, the Marquise de Pompadour and the Marquis de Marigny, as well as for Parisian churches. These historical and official compositions never made him forget his first love for nature and the picturesque, developed during his stay in Italy at the beginning of his career. Thus, in these two paintings, light, atmosphere and landscape reinforce the painter's discourse and serve the narrative in the same way as figures and attitudes. In these modest and pleasant canvases, such as those commissioned by the reign of Louis XV for their comfortable interiors, Pierre offers us an admirable synthesis of his talents, combining the sense of narrative of the experienced history painter with the intelligence of colour and the sense of light derived from his Roman stay, discreetly adding a few details testifying to his taste for archaeology, all of which is served by a generous touch that gives them a vibrant seduction.
A second outstanding work in this sale is an oil on canvas by Joseph Vernet. Originally from Avignon, he received his first training there before leaving for Italy, where he stayed for almost twenty years. He painted his first seascapes in Naples and studied the work of Manglard, Panini and Locatelli, as well as Claude Lorrain, whose work on light greatly interested him. An attentive observer of nature, Joseph Vernet enjoyed considerable success beyond the borders of the kingdom of France. His paintbrush tirelessly painted coastal landscapes and seas that were sometimes calm, sometimes turbulent, playing on the effects of light at different times of the day. Even after his return to France, the memory of Italy did not leave him and there are few of his landscapes that do not bear the mark.
This painting, Fishermen on a Mediterranean shore, invites us to contemplate: on the edge of a calm sea where sailboats are anchored, under a sky crossed by a few seagulls, a couple of fishermen installed on a rock motto while waiting for the line to show a catch. Everything is in place to take the viewer to this peaceful coastline. Joseph Vernet's aim here is to render the many sensations and beauties of a seascape on a small canvas, probably intended for a private collector like other similar examples.
The sale will also feature an oil on canvas by Joseph-Marie Vien. Initially trained in Montpellier, he joined the ranks of the Royal Academy in Paris where he became a student of Charles-Joseph Natoire. With the Prix de Rome of 1743, he won his place as a boarder in the Palais Mancini, then under the direction of Jean-François de Troy. This first stay in Rome marked a decisive step in Vien's career. He did not yet display the taste for antiquity that would later characterise him, but he took a keen interest in the study of nature, the old masters such as Raphael and Michelangelo, as well as in 17th century painting, especially that of Carracci and Guerchino.
The dramatic character of the scene in this oil on canvas The Flagellation of Christ is perfectly rendered here with a strong sense of narrative: while executioners are holding Christ and tying him to the column, soldiers are already raising their arms, holding whips and rods ready to strike Jesus. He, with his body bare, his cheek offered and his eyes closed, presents a gentle attitude in contrast to that of his torturers, already signifying abandonment and the gift of his life. This fiery and free-spirited sketch bears witness to the research of the man who was to become the first representative of neoclassical painting in France.
On the same day, the department will present two other auctions, one dedicated to terracotta and other sculptures and the second one highlighting paintings and drawings by Old Master and 19th century artists.
Preview exhibition in Belgium
From Tuesday 4th to Friday 7th May
5, avenue Franklin Roosevelt
Public exhibition in Paris
5 June, 11am-6pm
6 June, 2pm-6pm
7 June, 11am-6pm
8 June, 11am-6pm
Auction in Paris
From Italy to France, a European passion
9th June 2021 – 2:30pm
Tél. +33 1 42 99 20 07