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"L'Étudiante," a Humanist Portrait by Emile Friant

On 07 December 2021, by Philippe Dufour

The Lorraine painter chronicled late 19th-century society. His studious young woman seems to echo the great masters of the Renaissance.

Émile Friant (1863-1932), L’Étudiante (The Student), 1923, oil on canvas, 1923, 129 x 104 cm/50.8 x 40.9 in.
Result: €369,050

Émile Friant painted L'Étudiante (The Student) in 1923, the same year he was finally elected to the Académie des Beaux-arts (Fine Arts Academy). With all the realism so dear to him, he placed his model, holding a notebook and a pencil, in a symbolic setting with an imposing globe. L'Étudiante was carefully kept by a family from Épinal, northeastern France, in which it was passed down from the original buyer. Bidders fiercely competed for the work, especially three from Lorraine. A couple, delighted that the painting would remain in the region, acquired it for €369,050: a price far surpassing its €25,000 estimate, and the second-highest ever paid for a work by the artist (source: Artnet).

Other 20th-century works also met with success. Jean Dufy’s La Chaumière (The Thatched Cottage, 71.5 x 49.5 cm/28.2 x 19.5 in) sold for €12,100. On a more dreamlike note, a crystal sculpture by Daum (39 x 45 x 14 cm/15.4 x 7.74 x 5.5 in), made in collaboration with Salvador Dalí, with the highly detailed title Débris d'une automobile donnant naissance à un cheval aveugle mordant un téléphone (Debris of an Automobile Giving Birth to a Blind Horse Biting a Telephone), fetched €7,381. Lastly, a 1958 trial proof signed and monogrammed by Marc Chagall, Les Mauvais sujets (Bad Elements), changed hands for €6,050.

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Saturday 27 November 2021 - 14:00 (CET) - Catalogue
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