Emperor Augustus Returns to Versailles

On 08 February 2021, by Philippe Dufour

The royal palace preempted a preparatory study by Champaigne, while Méheut’s sailors and Italian design also found buyers.

Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne (1631-1681), Auguste recevant une ambassade d'Indiens (Augustus Receiving an Embassy of Indians), c. 1672, oil on canvas, 30.7 x 60.2 cm (12.09 x 23.71 in).
Result: €96,720

Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne’s majestic Auguste recevant une ambassade d'Indiens (Augustus Receiving an Embassy of Indians), from around 1672, triggered a bidding war until the Palace of Versailles preempted it for €96,720. The acquisition was all the more justified because this is a preparatory study, or modello, for a decorative painting on the west arch of the Mercury Room’s ceiling at the Sun King’s palace. Louis XIV held Jean-Baptiste, Philippe de Champaigne’s nephew, in very high regard. The artist entered the Royal Academy of Painting in 1663 and worked at the king’s various residences, from Versailles to the Tuileries and Vincennes.

A pair of French 18th-century full-length portraits (203 x 87 cm, 79.93 x 34.26 in), Homme en rouge (Man in Red) and Homme en bleu (Man in Blue), were more affordable at €8,184. Painted by a member of John Constable’s circle, Portrait of a Young Boy (142 x 111.8 cm, 55.91 x 44.02 in) fetched €7,936.

François Méheut’s Quatre marins (Four Sailors), a bronze group with a nuanced brown-green patina depicting seamen struggling against the wind, changed hands for €11,160. Signed by the artist, the sculpture’s volumes are as rough as the men depicted. A sticker indicates that it was cast by "Susse" and numbered "5". A chrome-plated steel sofa, armchair and ottoman upholstered with corduroy could be had for the same price. The Italian duo Afra Bianchin and Tobia Scarpa designed this living room set based on the "Soriana" model.

Sunday 31 January 2021 - 13:00 - Catalogue
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