The riches of the Golden Age

On 01 December 2018, by Stéphanie Pioda

Cabinet with its base, Hispanic work, probably Mexican, late 17th/early 18th century, ivory plaques with saints, mouldings in ebony, tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl, 190 x 134 x 53 cm. Some restoration work.
Estimate: €15,000/30,000

"Laurent Horny was a fine-looking man with an appealing wealth of knowledge, and who was very pleasant to listen to," to quote his third wife, Nicole Horny. "He contacted me because he had a Florentine cabinet to sell, and he knew I was keen on them." This was in 1985. From then on, they were devoted to each other and shared this passion until Laurent's death in 2000. Two hundred pieces from the collection of the doctor-turned- antiques dealer are now being sold, including nine cabinets. They include no. 159, a piece of Hispanic furniture from the late 17th/early 18th century (€15,000/30,000), considered by specialists as probably Mexican but always identified by Mrs Horny as Indo-Portuguese. "It's of extremely rare quality," says expert Stéphane Molinier, "and stands out for its particularly elaborate architectural composition, assemblages and veneering materials – in this case ivory, ebony, tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl. It also has meticulously-rendered decoration, illustrating work of the first order by a Hispanic workshop, very likely Mexican." Also rare in the market are a cabinet with marquetry decoration on three sides (€30,00/50,000) and a table de milieu with a marquetry decoration of branches in reserves (€15,000/20,000), both attributed to Louis XIV's cabinetmaker, Pierre Gole (c. 1620-1684). Only forty-odd of his pieces are listed in the world. Laurent Horny endeavoured to create a cabinet of curiosities in his home, with paintings including "masterpieces by little-known artists", according to Old Master specialist Alexis Bordes, like two studies of butterflies and insects by Magdalena Van den Hecken (1615-after 1635) who meticulously painted the shadows of each one, creating the illusion of a real entomologist's display case (€12,000/15,000 for the pair). There could be a surprise in store with a still life by J. Hendriksz Van Zuylen (€20,000/30,000), a painter almost never seen on the market. In 1989, when the antiques dealer retired to the Riviera, his 13th century property in the Périgord went to some Japanese buyers, including the famous Florentine cabinet that brought the couple together. Nicole Horny was able to buy it back a few years ago at Sotheby's in London. It is now in her home, alongside various Picassos that will not be going to auction.

tableaux anciens, céramiques, Extrême-Orient, sculptures contemporaines, Haute Époque, mobilier et objets d'art
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