The top results of this classic sale could be posted in the early afternoon, with Monnoyer, Boucher and Watteau as the winning trio.
François Boucher (1703-1770) and his studio, Vénus pleurant la mort d’Adonis (Venus Mourning the Death of Adonis), oil on canvas, 68.5 x 61 cm/26.8 x 24 in.
Bidders can try their luck with the painting Gold-Mounted Lapis Vase Filled with Flowers, Placed on an Entablature Decorated with a Bas-relief Depicting a Triumph (€100,000/150,000), executed during Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer's early period, c. 1660-1665. From this work, we move seamlessly to a composition by François Boucher and his studio of Vénus pleurant la mort d’Adonis (Venus Mourning the Death of Adonis). Ovid tells us that the goddess fell in love with the young man, whom she had taken under her protection after he was accidentally shot by one of Cupid's arrows as a child. Adonis was killed by a boar while hunting. Venus is shown naked, as usual, near her swan-drawn chariot. Adonis is accompanied by dogs, his faithful hunting companions, and a quiver—one of the attributes of Cupid, born from the union of Venus with Jupiter, Mars or Mercury, depending on the source. Another version of this painting is known to have been owned by Comtesse Niel, then Hussein Pasha until 1993, and by the Dallas Museum of Art, before its trail went cold.
After a still life and a mythological episode, the third painting here represents a genre in which Jean-Antoine Watteau excelled: love scenes. A young woman playing the guitar charms her suitor, watched by Pierrot, Harlequin and the doctor in the role of the spurned lover. Estimated at €120,000/150,000, this panel entitled Pour garder l'honneur d'une belle (To Protect the Honor of a Beautiful Woman), with a palette of brown, ochre and red, belongs to the artist's early period (1708-1712) and had a pendant, Belle n'écoutez rien (Do Not Listen, Fair Lady). Attributed to Antoine Rivalz (1667-1735) of Toulouse, a fine early 18th century painting with a baroque feel shows La Toilette d'Esther (Esther at Her Toilet). Lastly, lovers of 18th-century furniture will focus on a Transitional period commode stamped by Guillaume Kemp (€30,000/50,000), with a marquetry decoration of drapery, flowers and lively scenes presented as tableaux.