La Gazette Drouot
Enchères - Michel Rullier Collection
Michel Rullier Collection 3,89 M€

A saga of bids that spoke of iron and other metals came to a close this month in Paris. It recounted the dispersion of the collection brought together by Michel Rullier over some fifty years. This antique dealer from Poitiers, a specialist in the High Renaissance and the 18th century, collected nearly 2,000 objects, most of them made of iron. "I love metal, and iron is a beautiful material," he said in an interview with La Gazette Drouot in 2009. "What people may be don't realise is that an iron ring is a hundred times more difficult to produce, with the same degree of perfection, than a ring in platinum, gold or silver… and also a hundred times more uninteresting to the public, which enabled me to acquire high-end objects a hundred times cheaper than low-end objects in a much sought-after field!" The sale of his collection has clearly changed this state of affairs in setting a new rate for these objects – for it has totalled €3,897,060. The fourth and final chapter in the Michel Rullier collection ended with a total of €482,486. The prize bid, at €22,850, went to a Louis XIV wrought iron coffee or spice mill with refined silver damascene decoration (illustrated). It is cylindrical and ornamented on three levels with floweret-decorated panels in a diamond-shaped medallion or a quatrefoil motif. The boxwood poppet handle is also damascened and bears the initials "P.A.V." A late 16th century South German door lock stashed away €13,300. This is in wrought iron, its exposed surfaces etched with the bust of a helmeted man, and a woman emerging from a leafy base in a foliated framework, also leafy, enlivened with birds, on a matt background.

Wrought iron coffee or spice mill with silver damascene decoration, damascened boxwood handle with poppet, stamped with the initials "P.A.V", France, 17th century, Louis IX period , h.19.6 cm.
Sold for €22,850

The three-pin mechanism is mounted on a spring. One section was dedicated to pewter ware, the star piece being, at €19,000, a ewer on a pedestal of c. 1590 from Montbéliard bearing the initials of François Briot. This is inspired by antique models in both its shape and its rich Renaissance relief decoration showing the theological virtues. François Briot was also at the origin of the other five-figure bid for pewter ware, €15,200, which this time went to a dish of c. 1590 with relief decoration on the boss of an allegory of Temperance, surrounded with allegories of the four elements, Wisdom and Dialectics. The arts of the fire were not limited in this last sale to metal, as it also featured earthenware items. One bidder splashed out €21,600 on an 18th century talking fountain and its basin from Ligron in the Sarthe region, in cream ceramic with polychrome decoration on a cream background. Oval shaped with a flat back, it has a broad handle and three orifices, including two with modelled masks, and the decoration is rounded off with three fleur-de-lys and an upside-down china ornament heart, while the cover has a modelled frog flanked by two lizards. The front side bears a dedication to Anne Despêray, the widow Duguay, dated 1780, while the back and cover bear the names of the potters and the sculptor.

Etched wrought iron door lock, three-pinion mechanism mounted on a spring, decorated with a helmeted male bust and a woman in a leafy setting, South Germany, late 16th century, 26 cm x 22 cm.
Sold for €13,325
France, c. 1800. Carved wrought iron dome key; inside, two naked men and women holding each other's hands; l. 13.2 cm. €12,511.
7 February, ?Paris – Drouot - Room 1-7.
Fraysse & Associés auction house. Ms Houze
La Gazette Internatioanl 12 - March 2012 - Sylvain Alliod

Michel Rullier
«I like pieces with a history».

Four sales
10 March 2010: €1,284,616
19 May 2010: €937,150
9 February 2011: €1,194,958
7 February 2012: €482,486

Four volumes totalling 1, 017 pages describing 2,563 lots.

€12,511 France, second half of 16th century, Two-part belt fastener in iron with chased Fontainebleau decoration, l. 11.2 cm.
Paris -Drouot - Room 10,
9 February 2011,
Fraysse & Associés auction house. Mrs Houze.
€47,788 Italy, early 17th century, miniature crossbow known as a balestrin, in engraved wrought iron, maximum l.: 26.5 cm, l. 19.5 cm..
Wednesday 10 March, Room 7 - Drouot-Richelieu.
Fraysse & Associés auction house. Mrs Houze.
€55,048 South Germany, 18th century, coffer in carved wrought iron, 18-pin mechanism controlled by a dome lock, 42 cm x 65 cm x 43.5 cm. Pre-empted by the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles.
Paris-Drouot-Room 7, 10 March 2010, Fraysse & Associés auction house. Mrs Houze.
€35,031 Bordeaux, late 18th century. Master's lock accompanied by its key in wrought iron, carved and cut out in openwork, 20.4 x 11.9 cm, and 15.9 cm.
Paris – Drouot - Room 10, 9 February 2011, Fraysse & Associés auction house.
Mrs Houze.
€27,524 France, c. 1570-1580, "messenger" box in wrought iron with silver damascene, 7 x 12.6 x 8.4 cm.
Paris - Drouot - Room 10, 19 May, Fraysse & Associés auction house. Mrs Houze.