The Paul-Dupuy and Fabre Museums and the Château de Fontainebleau made the most of this top-quality, period collection.
Jacques-Philippe Le Sueur (1757-1830), c. 1798-1800, Consulate period, "Aux quatre muses des heures" clock in white marble, polychrome enameled metal sphere, quarter striking movement signed "Le Paute horloger du Roy à Paris 1790", signature of Le Sueur, of doubtful origin, on the marble, h. 153 cm/60 in, diam. 65 cm/25.6 in, on a malachite veneered column, 19th century gilt bronze mount, h. 93 cm/36.6 in.
The contents of private mansions in Avenue Foch in Paris are similar but all very different! This one, for which the press revealed the name of the former owner as Teodorín Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (the former president of Equatorial Guinea), represented a century of the finest French creation from the final splendors of the Louis XIV era to the golden hours of the Consulate—a short period, but full of promise. And talking of hours, it is appropriate to start with the most sought-after lot in the sale: this clock featuring four muses in white marble and polychrome enameled metal on a malachite-veneered base (see photo). This piece, dating from 1798-1800, combines the work of the sculptor Jacques-Philippe Le Sueur and the King's clockmaker, Le Paute (also known as "Lepaute"). It had timely appeal for the Musée des Arts Précieux Paul-Dupuy in Toulouse, which duly celebrated its reopening by carrying off this choice item for €194,275, helping to grow a department well-known as one of the most sophisticated in antique timepiece-making. Moving on, the ink inventory markings made it possible to trace the precise location of a pair of armchairs in Fontainebleau. Unsurprisingly, the château used its right of preemption to acquire these two mahogany pieces illustrating the elegant "Etruscan" model made by Jacob Frères Rue Meslée for €28,570. Meanwhile the Musée Fabre, a museum always on the lookout, carried off a painting by the Montpellier artist Jean Raoux (1677-1724), La Toilette avant le bal (Dressing for the Ball: 98.7 x 138.5 cm/38.9 x 54.5 in), for €18,285. La Gazette devoted one of its first articles of 2023 to this collection, which made a total of €1.781 M, garnering some fine bids for period furniture in various styles. A French Regency commode (89 x 145 x 53.5 cm/35 x 57 x 21 in) in the style of Charles Cressent went for €183,990, while a pair of ebony veneered cabinets enriched with hardstones in the style of Adam Weisweiler fetched €97,140. €177,130 went to three blue-glazed porcelain vases from the Kangxi period (1662-1722), with gilt bronze mounts added later (h. 42.5, 44.5 and 45 cm/16.7, 17.5 and 17.7 in). Meanwhile, this sarcophagus commode reproducing the famous model delivered by Boulle in 1708 for Louis XIV’s bedroom in the Grand Trianon changed interiors for €142,850.