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Master Clockmaker Charles Dutertre's Perfect Timing

On 12 October 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

Under the protection of Demeter and Persephone, a bronze clock by timepiece-maker Dutertre won hands down.

Master Clockmaker Charles Dutertre's Perfect Timing

Transition period, c. 1770, a chased, patinated gilt bronze mantel clock featuring Demeter and Persephone on either side of a column supporting a movement and dial made by Charles Dutertre in Paris, 75 x 54 x 27 cm/29.5 x 21.3 x 10.6 in.
Result: €80,600

A surprise came with an objet d'art, not the Old Masters, although the latter performed well. The Portrait of the Eeremans de Beaufort Family, an oval painting by Etienne de Lavallée-Poussin, fetched €21,450; €13,650 went to Le Retour de la chasse (Return from the Hunt: 48 x 73 cm/18.9 x 28.7 in) by Nicolas Swertschkoff (1817-1898), and the Sens Cathedral Treasury preempted an allegorical painting of the birth of the Dauphin by the French school, c. 1730, for €3,640.

But in this fine classic sale, the top price—€80,600— went to a gilt bronze clock with the goddess Demeter and her only daughter Persephone on either side of a column supporting a movement and dial produced by the clockmaker Charles Dutertre (c. 1740-before 1778), admitted as master in 1758. The craftsman was no stranger to the specialty: he came from a family of timepiece-makers that had practiced for three generations, with no fewer than thirteen exponents. He himself worked in his father's workshop. A very similar model is now in the collections of the Pavlovsk Castle in St. Petersburg. All conducive to perfect timing.

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