Camille Claudel and Two Chinese Thangkas Steal the Show

On 22 March 2021, by Philippe Dufour

Used for personal meditation and channeling divine energy, these sacred paintings took the lion's share, but a bust by Camille Claudel also weighed in.

China, early 20th century. Thangka of Amitayus in ink and colors on silk, 128 x 74 cm (50.39 x 29.13 in).
Result: €387,500

An early 20th-century Chinese thangka depicting Amitayus (a celestial Buddha) achieved the stunning price of €387,500, skyrocketing past its high estimate of €8,000. Painted in ink and colors on silk and bearing an apocryphal date, 1799, it depicts the deity in a golden temple sitting on a lotus and holding a kalasha in the dhyanasana pose. An inscription on the upper part is written in Manchu, Mandarin, Mongolian and Tibetan.

Another Buddha thangka of the same period and origin, also in ink and colors on silk, fetched €268,750: more or less its estimate. In this one, the Buddha is surrounded by peonies in a mountain landscape, with two disciples bearing offerings. The date, also apocryphal, is 1793 (128 x 74 cm/50.39 x 29.13 in).

Next, back in the West, came a famous sculpture by Camille Claudel, La Petite Châtelaine, version à la natte droite (The Little Chatelaine, Version with the Right Braid, h. 32 cm/12.59 in), fetched €90,000. The posthumous lost-wax bronze casting with a brown-green patina is numbered II/IV on the left shoulder, and features the founder's stamp, "Cire perdue Valsuani", on the right. This touching figure garnered a fine €90,000.

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