It was positively peachy to see the fine results harvested by the delightful Louyse Moillon and her comrades.
Louyse Moillon (c. 1610-1696), Nature morte à la coupe de fraises, panier de cerises, branche de groseilles à maquereau (Still Life with a Bowl of Strawberries, Basket of Cherries and Branch of Gooseberries), 1631, oil on panel, 36 x 50 cm/14.2 x 19.7 in.
All was right with the world when this sale of Old Master paintings staged by Aguttes fulfilled all its promises. Led by Still Life with Celestial Globe, Open Book, Shells, Lizard and Butterflies by Christian Luyckx (1623-1657), which fetched €96,200, Louyse Moillon's much sought-after work, celebrated on these pages, garnered a world record with €1,662,400 (source: Artnet). In the mouthwatering fruit market, this Still Life with Bowl of Strawberries […] painted in 1631 by a truly accomplished artist, despite her youth, dethroned the 1629 Panier de quetsches (Basket of Damson Plums) and topping her achievements for the past six years (€1,143,000, Sotheby's Paris, June 16, 2016) a real treat! But more excellent results were still to come. A Portrait de femme en robe d'écarlate doublée d'hermine (Portrait of a Woman in a Scarlet Ermine-Trimmed Dress) by a virtuoso in pastels, Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702-1789), fetched €175,500. The painter from Geneva detailed his work in a book (Traité des principes et des règles de la peinture, (Treatise on the Principles and Rules of Painting), Geneva, 1781) and at the same time provided advice, especially concerning coloring, which "must be true; lively without being crude; tender without being insipid: we must avoid any unappealing monotony, which is so foreign to its nature." He certainly applied these wise principles to his own work.
The Modena artist Francesco Battaglioli was also virtuosic, boldly launching into the unusual exercise of opera vedutas in painting (see photo), when this was usually reserved for drawings and prints. All the more reason to pay attention to these two views. The first is a scene from Didone Abandonnata, the second illustrates La Nitteti, composed respectively by Baldassare Galuppi (1706-1785) and Nicola Conforto (1718-1793) to librettos by Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782) and performed at the Coliseo del Buen Reiro—the royal opera house of the Spanish court, built in a vacation palace on the edge of Madrid. Battagliolo went there at the castrato Farinelli's request to work as a set designer. At that time, a project of this kind could only have come from a commission, that of a rich music lover—in this instance King Ferdinand VI—or the artist who initiated the show: perhaps the magnificent Farinelli himself. These brilliant pieces garnered €123,500, to much applause.