A thoroughly eclectic collection

On 18 October 2019, by Claire Papon

The catalogue for the sale of the former banker Pierre Moussa contains nearly two hundred lots.

Jean Goulden (1878-1947), six-legged box in gilt copper and champlevé enamel, 1929, 8 x 32 x 27 cm.
Estimate: €30,000/40,000

This Ecole Normale graduate and leading member of the Inspectorate of Finances, who died at 97 on 30 June this year, spent most of his career with the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas. His collection consisted of works he fell in love with; his tastes embraced all periods and forms of art. Here, pastels by Maurice Denis and Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer rub shoulders with a bronze by Joseph Csaky (Enfant (Child), 1920, late casting, €40,000/60,000), Chinese art, silverwork by Jean Després, the marble figure of a female Roman patrician (€8,000/10,000), and a stucco bas-relief of a Mayan sovereign (500-900 AD, €10,00/15,00) – not to mention this box (€30,000/40,000) and a hexagonal bowl by Jean Goulden in the purest Art Deco spirit. This 1930 bowl in silver-coated bronze and champlevé enamel has an estimate of €20,000/30,000. Its creator was sent out as a doctor to the Dardanelles campaign (1915-1916). Goulden fell ill and convalesced with the monks of Mount Athos, in Greece. Here he discovered Byzantine enamels. On his return to Paris, he turned to art and set up in the Montparnasse district, where he met Paul Jouve, François-Louis Schmied (later marrying his daughter Dolly) and Jean Dunand. Encouraged by Dunand, he decided to explore the cloisonné and champlevé enamelling techniques. Between 1921 and 1930, the lacquer specialist and the artist worked together on a series of furniture items designed for interiors or for Jean Goulden's family. It is estimated that he produced ninety boxes between 1923 and 1933.

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