Spotlight on Rubens and the Buddha

On 03 September 2019, by Philippe Dufour

A work by Peter-Paul Rubens and his studio does not come up on the market every day... So this Holy Family with St Francis and St Anne was eagerly awaited, despite a few drawbacks.

Peter-Paul Rubens and his studio (1577-1640), Holy Family with St Francis and St Anne, oil on canvas, 141.5 x 203.5 cm.
Result: €1,146,600

Finally, it lived up to expectations, achieving its estimate with €1,146,600. But though sporting impeccable traceability since the 18th century through several outstanding collections, the picture was only partly by the hand of the Antwerp master, according to several experts. Meanwhile, a painting from ca. 1620 by an Antwerp school, again in Rubens' entourage, found a taker at €120,960. Admittedly, its subject was typically Baroque – Magdalene at the feet of Christ – and its pedigree equally impressive, as it had belonged to several English collections in turn since 1772.

Buddha in bronze, Sino-Indian art, north-west India, 9th to 14th century, 47 x 31 cm (with base).Result: €158,760

Buddha in bronze, Sino-Indian art, north-west India, 9th to 14th century, 47 x 31 cm (with base).
Result: €158,760

The next lot, imbued with a meditative spirit, was a bronze Buddha characteristic of Sino-Indian art of north-west India (the Kashmir region), executed between the 9th and 14th centuries. Seated on a lotus base, right hand lowered in varada mudra ("the gesture of giving") and holding the hem of his evenly pleated mantle, he inspired a bid of €158,760. Even older, dating from the early Roman Empire, a finely executed headless female marble torso in the pose of Venus Anadyomede (Venus rising from the sea) found an admirer at €56,700. Another sculpture, contemporary this time, was Wifredo Lam's Grand Yamaya, a 1977 bronze with green patina. One of an Artcurial edition of eight, this garnered €57,960. Meanwhile, a large 2.40-metre-high bronze by Jacques Le Bescond, from a numbered edition of eight, intrigued viewers with its title, A contrario, before joining a new home in exchange for €40,320.

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