Taking place in a particular context because of Covid-19 measures, the 32nd "garden party" sale at the château d'Artigny, preceded by innovative virtual tours, lived up to its tradition by achieving excellent results.
Louis Gauffier (1762-1801), La Cueillette des oranges ou Réunion de famille d'un diplomate accrédité en Italie sous le Directoire (Picking Oranges, or Family of a Diplomat Accredited in Italy under the Directory), 1797-1798, signed and dated oil on canvas, 69 x 99 cm.
The total proceeds of the two-day auction was €3,774,560. As usual, this well-deserved success was due to the quality of the pieces, some of which were royal, such as the famous medallion Louis XIV gave to the privateer Alain Porée of Saint-Malo in 1696. Estimated at €80,000, it fetched €620,000! Decorated with 20 diamonds, the medallion, which bears the official name of "portrait box", interested bidders from the United States, Great Britain, France and, of course, Saint-Malo. A solar-panel manufacturer from the city of privateers pocketed this profile of the Sun King, saying that he wanted it to "circulate in the months to come". In this high-level competition, first place went to a beautiful family portrait painted by Louis Gauffier in Italy around 1797-1798: La Cueillette des oranges… (Picking Oranges... , 69 x 99 cm). The result soared past the high estimate of €60,000 and set a world record for this rare artist. In the decorative arts, several items lived up to expectations, such as a large Rouen faïence (earthenware) ceremonial dish from the years 1725-1730 (dia. 56 cm), which came from three former Rothschild collections and whose counterpart is in the Louvre museum. Featuring spectacular ochre decoration on a blue ground surrounding two music-playing cupids, it fetched €248,000. Next came a 17-piece Sèvres porcelain cabaret from the Empire period used by Napoleon I from 1805 onwards. Its decoration with birds painted by Christophe-Ferdinand Caron contributed to the €155,000 result. On the other hand, a Qianlong period vase did not find a buyer, perhaps because Chinese bidders stayed home.