Gazette Drouot logo print

A 17th-Century Ethiopian Prince

Published on , by Claire Papon and Sophie reyssat
Auction on 21 January 2023 - 14:00 (CET) - Salle 2 - Hôtel Drouot - 75009

The date of this sale was not chosen randomly: it corresponds to the anniversary of Louis XVI’s death on January 21, 1793. The French Revolution is the André Bernheim Collection’s leitmotiv.

French school, after Giovanna Garzoni (1605–1670), Portrait de Zaga Christ, Prince... A 17th-Century Ethiopian Prince

French school, after Giovanna Garzoni (1605–1670), Portrait de Zaga Christ, Prince éthiopien, watercolor and gouache on laid paper, diam. 5.2 cm/2.04 in.
Estimate: €8,000/12,000

Dr. André Bernheim (1877–1961), an unassuming, humorous, and kind man, was interested in everything from furniture to objects, pharmacy jars, musical instruments and Shabbat and Hanukkah lamps. He began acquiring French Revolution memorabilia before 1914. The catalog for this sale includes medallions with the profiles of the Revolutionary political figures Honore Mirabeau and Maximilien Robespierre, a collection of keys to the Bastille, a model of the fortress, fragments of wallpaper and faïence plates featuring revolutionary designs, stamps and an officer's tricorn. But a small, early 17th-century painting by a French artist (see photo) of the Ethiopian Prince Zaga Christ is what may spark the most interest. It is a copy of the first known portrait of a black man made in Europe during his lifetime. The 1635 original by Giovanna Garzoni, a miniature painter at the court of Savoy, has been in the collection of the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in Ohio since 2021. An intriguing figure who claimed that his father was the Emperor of Ethiopia, Zaga Christ lived in Jerusalem (where he converted to Christianity) and Cairo before being invited to the court of Turin, where he commissioned Garzoni to paint his portrait. Once completed, Zaga Christ went to France, where Cardinal Richelieu, Louis XIII’s most famous minister, granted him protection. In 1638, Christ died at Rueil on one of Richelieu's estates.

Saturday 21 January 2023 - 14:00 (CET) - Live
Salle 2 - Hôtel Drouot - 75009
Giquello & Associés
Gazette Drouot
Welcome La Drouot Gazette offers you 2 Articles.
You still have 1 article(s) left to read.
I subscribe