A World Record for Pompon

On 17 April 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

In his fables, the 17th-century French poet Jean de La Fontaine never imagined a meeting between the King of the Forest and the Paschal lamb... The miracle of the auction room did!

François Pompon (1855-1933), Large Stag No. 1, bronze with black patina and brown highlights, cast by Andro, 1930, 60 x 40.2 x 19.5 cm/23.6 x 15.8 x 7.7 in.
Result : €793,600

The Lord of Forrest is this magnificent, gleaming Large Stag No. 1 in the form of a 1930 cast by Andro—a guarantee of quality—with an impeccably smooth, brown-highlighted black patina. A splendid beast standing proud at 60 cm/23.6 in this is one of the last great quadrupeds in Pompon's bestiary, as the Gazette has pointed out. Its qualities earned it a royal €793,600: a fine world record for the engaging and talented sculptor from Burgundy (source: Artnet).

Alongside it, though not intimidated, came an Italian Renaissance sculpture of lamb carved in milky white marble by an artist who did not see fit to add his signature. This possibly unique specimen tripled its estimate when it bounded up to €89,600. In this decidedly high-flying sculpture section, a bronze statuette of the god Mars (h. 39.4 cm/15.5 in), made in the studio of Giambologna (1529-1608), fetched €38,400.

For once, painting featured some outsiders. The Garden of the Governor's Summer Palace in Algiers (54.5 x 65 cm/21.5 x 25.6 in.), a work executed in 1941 by Albert Marquet (1875-1947), lit up the room with its captivating Mediterranean light at €115,200. Subjects from antiquity held sway in the Old Masters. Matthias Stom (c. 1600 - after 1650), formerly known as the Master of the Death of Cato, depicted Mucius Scaevola before Lars Porsenna (102 x 118.5 cm/40.2 x 46.7 in.): an episode depicting a young patrician and equally heroic Roman ready to sacrifice himself to defend the young Republic at the end of the 2nd century BCE. Meanwhile, on this Good Friday, a grief-laden Christ Lamented by Angels (115 x 95 cm/45.3 x 37.4 in.) by Nicola Grassi (1682-1750) went for €96,000. Thus, with a lamb and a lamentation, was Easter duly celebrated.

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