An Armchair Fit for a Prince

On 04 February 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

Did joiner Georges Jacob make this flat-backed chair for the Count of Artois? Its result, princely for an armchair, tends to support the hypothesis.

Georges Jacob (1739-1814), Louis XVI period, c. 1785, armchair with flat back in molded, carved and gilded wood, 101 x 71 x 62 cm (39.77 x 27.96 x 24.41 in).
Result: €128,000

This armchair is not completely unknown: it belongs to the furniture of a room that has been partly reconstructed. The number of known chairs matters. Several have come up on the market in the last 10 years and four belong to the National Furniture collections. Four more are referenced and deposited at the Élysée Palace. Some still have their owners’ label affixed by Jacob (1739-1814) himself at the time of delivery, with the words "Salon de Monseigneur", allowing historians to put forward the hypothesis that the furniture was made for the Count of Artois, brother of Louis XVI and the future Charles X. In the early 19th century, the furniture was deposited in the Château de Fontainebleau. At the time, it was upholstered with "gros de Tours white satin embroidered with chenille silk".

Under the reign of Louis XVI, Jacob, who founded a prosperous and talented dynasty, made furniture for the Tuileries Palace, Queen Marie-Antoinette, the king’s brothers, the Count of Provence and the Count of Artois. All of these clues point to a princely commission, pushing the price of this elegantly carved giltwood armchair up to €128,000.

Vermiglio, Giordano and Cressent on a Plate

On 05 February 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

Rediscovered Old Masters and period furniture made by the greatest names rivaled each other at this sale.

Giuseppe Vermiglio (1585-1635), The Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine between St. Agatha and St. John the Baptist, oil on canvas, 170 x 196 cm (66.93 x 77.17 in).
Result: €211,200

The wedding scheduled for November 2020 had been postponed. The Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine between St. Agatha and St. John the Baptist by Giuseppe Vermiglio (1585-1635) fetched €211,200. Believers can easily grasp the message of this work in the "sacred conversation" tradition. The scene is set in Rome, a teeming artistic melting pot during the first third of the 17th century where the Carracci brothers responded to Caravaggio's excesses with classic naturalism. The Piedmontese painter Vermiglio skillfully merged these contrasting influences, striking a balance between Caravaggio's chiaroscuro and the Carracci’s mellow compositions. Luca Giordano (1632-1705) made a different choice.

The Neapolitan painter put his Baroque Caravaggism on full display with a creative ardor seen in Cain and Abel (194 x 145 cm, 76.38 x 57.09 in). A sense of movement and dark, violent colors heighten the magnitude of the drama that has just played out. A winning bid of €192,000 rewarded its pictorial quality.

The second part of the sale featured antique furniture. All eyes were on a satinwood and amaranth chest of drawers, characteristic of the 1730s’ work of cabinetmaker Charles Cressent (1685-1768). Described by specialist Alexandre Pradère as a "chest of drawers with crosiers and cascades of flowers", this majestic piece of furniture with chased gilded bronzes marked by a crowned "C" sold for €185,600.

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