A Fine Harvest of Fruit and Portraits

On , by Anne Doridou-Heim

The paintings in the Yvonne and Jean Riechers collection mainly featured the early 17th century still life genre in France. The more unobtrusive portraits came as a surprise.

Louyse Moillon (vers 1610-1696), Nature morte de quetsches (Still life with damsons), oil on cradled oak panel, 31.5 x 48.5 cm.
Result: €588,800

All the still lifes but two found buyers, while the four other works remaining unsold were landscapes. Two lots lay outside this group: a drawing by Anne-Louis Girodet (1767-1824), Ariane, withdrawn before the sale, and a painting by Louyse Moillon (ca. 1610-1696): an appetising Nature morte de quetsches (Still life with damsons), which at €588,800 landed the highest bid. The twenty-seven paintings in the collection totalled €1,669,056 including buyers' premiums, with a surprise success, at €256,000, for Henri Traivoel's Presumed self-portrait. "Henry Traivoel - Pit" was written on the back of the picture (before its remounting): to date, this is the only extant work by the artist, who was closely connected with Simon Vouet in Rome. This portrait or self-portrait from the milieu of French painters in this city, inspired by Caravaggism, was one of the likenesses traditionally exchanged between artists. The tightly framed model is painted from life with a free touch. Some scholars believe that Traivoel was one Enrico Trevers, Vouet's companion on a journey to Genoa and Milan.

Henri Traivoel (active in Rome in 1622), Presumed self-portrait, oil on canvas, 50.5 x 40.5 cm.Result: €256,000
Henri Traivoel (active in Rome in 1622), Presumed self-portrait, oil on canvas, 50.5 x 40.5 cm.
Result: €256,000

The 17th-century Lombard school, well represented in the still life section, garnered €166,400 with a painting inspired by the bowls and dishes of fruit painted in Milan by Caravaggio and Panfilo Nuvolone. The pitted fruits, sharply delineated vine leaves and silverware bowl are all elements that situate this work within the Counter-Reformation movement, in both the Lombard capital and on the banks of the Seine. A further illustration was a work by Jacques Linard, Panier de quetsches et abricots sur un entablement (Basket of damsons and apricots on an entablature), an oil on lime tree panel of 1638 knocked down for €102,400, where the soberer composition and the light caressing the velvety skin of the fruit already pave the way for Chardin. A lesson absorbed by Prud'hon (1758-1823) in his male nudes, where, as in the drawing shown here, which obtained €140,000, black chalk, stump and white chalk highlights model the subject's face and capture the tight grain of the skin.

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