Illustrating the rich financial history of the Tuscan city, this painted tavoletta is also a true work of art: one that shattered all expectations.
Siena, School of Ambrogio Lorenzetti (c. 1290-1348), second quarter of 14th century. Biccherna tablet or "tavoletta", painted in tempera on wood in two registers, 40.3 x 26 cm/15.9 x 10.2 in.
The extremely rare—though very modestly estimated—artifact triggered a bidding battle between international collectors and dealers, with no fewer than nine telephone bidders competing live, with one finally winning it for €582,800. This unique object served as a portable binding for a bundle of official accounts issued in Siena. Leading local artists were called on to decorate these wooden boards. Here, everything suggests work by a student of Ambrogio Lorenzetti, active between 1290 and 1348. The monk Mattheus is depicted behind a counter emptying a purse of coins, and the scene is accompanied by four blazons and a long explanatory inscription.
Contemporary art was also present in the Provençal sale, with a sculpture by Étienne, Magnificat for Six Voices, garnering €18,600. This bronze with a brown and gilt patina was cast by the founder Landowski and is signed and numbered (98 x 97 x 71 cm/38.6 x 38.2 x 28 in). Another more recent bronze stood out, this time with a green patina. It represents a woman seated cross-legged, entitled La Byzantine. It was created by Marie-Paule Deville Chabrolle who modeled it in 2004 for a Delval casting (68 x 65 x 45 cm/26.8 x 25.6 x 17.7 in). This artist's proof (I/IV) fetched €14,880.