This lively portrait by Marie-Antoinette's (future) favorite painter was set off by a gleaming, highly original Japanese-style silver tea service.
Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842), Portrait de Monsieur Jean-Baptiste Coulon, seigneur de la Grange-aux-Bois (1731-1808), 1774, pastel on paper mounted on oval canvas, signed and dated, 59.5 x 46 cm/23.4 x 18.1 in.
€28,260 was the fine score achieved by this highly anticipated oval pastel after a high estimate of €15,000—with good reason, as Portrait de Monsieur Jean-Baptiste Coulon, seigneur de la Grange-aux-Bois (1731-1808) is one of the earliest known works by the great French artists Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, who dated it 1774, when she was only 19. The thorough training she received from her father, Louis Vigée, certainly helped her to capture the amiable figure of this officer and adviser to the French King. The same year, her blazing talent enabled her to enter the Académie de Saint-Luc (a guild for painters and sculptors): a rare honor for young girls of the time.
The next item up for sale was a striking silver Japanese eight-piece tea service (7596 g/268 oz), comprising a teapot (h. 16.5 cm/6.5 in), a lidded sugar bowl (same height), a milk jug (h. 9.5 cm/3.7 in), four cups (h. 5.5 cm/2.2 in) and a tray (4 x 69.5 x 37 cm/1.6 x 27.3 x 14.6 in), which garnered €12,200. With a delicate decoration of cherry tree branches, it carries the mark of "Fannière Fres" with the Minerve stamp as the first assay mark. This Paris firm was founded in 1839 by François-Auguste and François-Joseph Fannière. Remaining, in the sphere of the decorative (and utilitarian) arts, a pair of antique Chinese polychrome porcelain dishes topped the results with €50,240. These are decorated with figures in boats, with a border surrounded by a row of bronze beads (h. 5 cm/1.9 in./diam. 26.2 cm/10.3 in).