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Release: Christie’s to Present a Dedicated Sale of Important French Furniture from a Private Collection


New York – On 6 June, Christie’s will hold a sale of Important French Furniture from a Private Collection in New York. Comprised of 46 lots, this distinguished collection encompasses the whole range of the golden age of French decorative arts, from a spectacular Louis XIV marquetry table top attributed to André-Charles Boulle, to richly carved examples of Louis XV seat furniture by makers such as Mathieu Bauve and Claude-Louis Burgat, a pair of Louis XV marquetry tables which once belonged to the famous American heiress Anna Thomson Dodge. The sale will also encompass two unusual automaton clocks, a section of silver, and Flora Danica porcelain.

Leading the sale is a pair of Louis XV ormolu-mounted Meissen (Augustus Rex) porcelain vases (estimate: $300,000-500,000) – pictured above, almost certainly from a garniture made at Meissen in the early years of the factory, possibly to decorate Augustus the Strong’s Japanese Palace in Dresden. This enormous architectural and artistic undertaking, continued by Augustus III after his father’s death in 1733 was finally abandoned incomplete in 1738. The vases must have made their way to the workshop of a marchand-mercier soon afterwards, as the elaborate rocaille mounts are French in origin and date to the following decade. The German porcelain and French mounts in tandem create a pair of grand objects that would have been the height of fashion in the mid-18th century, branding their owner as a man – or woman – at the forefront of taste and erudition.

Among the top lots is a Louis XIV Ebony, Amaranth, Bone-Inlaid And Fruitwood Marquetry Table Top, possibly by Andre-Charles Boulle or Aubertin Gaudron, Circa 1690 (estimate: $120,000 – 180,000) – pictured right. This spectacular table top, with a classical urn overflowing with an abundance of flowers, balanced on a scroll-supported table and flanked by lush scrolling foliage, birds and butterflies, epitomizes the art of ’painting in wood’ practised by the most acomplished marqueteurs of the second half of the 17th Century, who were in turn inspired by the great Flemish and French still life painters of the period such as Ambrosius Bosschaert and Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer.

Also highlighting the sale is a Pair Of Louis XV Ormolu-Mounted Tulipwood, Amaranth and Bois De Bout Marquetry Bibliotheques, circa 1755 (estimate: $150,000-250,000) – pictured left. These impressive bibliothèques once formed part of the collection of Gisèle Rueff-Béghin, whose father Joseph Béghin was an important industrialist and founder of the Béghin sugar empire. Starting in the 1920’s, she assembled a superb collection of 18th century French furniture and Impressionist paintings, initially for an apartment on the Boulevard Montmorency and later an hôtel particulier in Neuilly, where she moved in 1966. Her Impressionist paintings, including important works by Degas, Renoir, Matisse and Redon, were dispersed in a landmark sale in London in 1988.

Remarkably fluid and inventive in form, the Late Louis XV Gilt-Walnut Fauteuil by Mathieu Bauve, circa 1765 (estimate: $50,000-80,000) – pictured right, stands out in his oeuvre as a masterful combination of the avante-garde neo-classicism and sinuous lines of the rococo in the 1760s. Bauve produced a few late Louis XV masterpieces, including the suite of bergères reputedly made for Queen Marie-Antoinette’s theatre at Versailles, an order shared with his fellow menuisier Jean-Baptiste.

Highlighting the neo-classical section is a late Louis XV Ormolu Clock/Thermometer, dated 1770, designed by Joseph Bouillerot, the movement by Pierre Le Roy (estimate: $60,000 – $90,000) – pictured left. This spectacular clock/thermometer, a veritable monument in miniature in the form of an imposing column flanked by putti emblematic of Hercules and Mars, is a rare example of a silversmith, Joseph Bouillerot, designing and executing works in gilt-bronze. According to the inscription, it is one of three versions made by Bouillerot. The original version was commissioned by Louis XV in 1756 as a gift for Armand de Vignerot du Plessis (1696-1788), the maréchal-duc de Richelieu as thanks for his famous victory in the Seven Years War against the British fleet at the Battle of Minorca. The Richelieu clock was later acquired by George IV at the sale of Richelieu’s collection, and subsequently in 1886 was recorded in Alfred de Rothschild’s collection.

This Pair of Louis XV Giltwood Canapés En Corbeille By Claude-Louis Burgat, Circa 1750 (estimate: $100,000 – 150,000) – ­pictured right, embody the height of rococo seat furniture in France in the mid-1750s. They were made by Claude-Louis Burgat, who received his maître in 1744 and is recorded as working on rue de Cléry in Paris. It is rare to find a pair of canapés of this scale and grandeur- one of the few known examples was a pair from the Karl Lagerfeld Collection which was sold at Christie’s, New York in 2010.

About Christie’s
Christie’s, the world’s leading art business, had global auction and private sales in 2011 that totaled £3.6 billion/$5.7 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie’s has since conducted the greatest and most celebrated auctions through the centuries providing a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 450 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War and Contemporary, Impressionist and Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery. Private sales totaled £502 million / $808.6m in 2011, an increase of 44% on the previous year.

Christie’s has a global presence with 53 offices in 32 countries and 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, and Hong Kong. More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in growth markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

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