Last week I mentioned re-discoveries. Every year at the Salon du Dessin in Paris there is a room devoted to works on paper still looking for an artist’s name. These are often of the highest quality but have just escaped the individual who has the answer to the mystery. Personally , I love this room because you can learn so much and possibly buy something of an extraordinary nature.
Here are a few of our mystery guests. Please feel free to make your suggestions.
As you may have seen on our invitation we also have a selection of terracotta and plaster sculptures from France and Italy of the late 18th and 19th century. These are a perfect introduction to this wonderful affordable field.
The collector, now living in New York, bought these in Paris in his youth and he now wants to pass on the enjoyment that he had in finding them. Many came from the Marché au Puces, the flea market in Paris. In the old days major collectors would show up there at 5 or 6 in the morning, one of the most illustrious being the former director of the Louvre, Pierre Rosenberg. Our collector, however, also bought pieces from Paris dealers
, one of whom later supplied many pieces to the J. Paul Getty sculpture collection.
Two of the most recognizable pieces are those by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1824-1887). Of the two the better known sculpture is that of the baccante.
The most famous sculptor of the 19th century, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), worked as an assistant in the studio of Carriere-Belleuse and owed a lot to the sculptor. The influence can clearly be seen in Rodin’s Baccante of 1874 now in the Metropolitan Museum. The Carrier-Belleuse Baccante is the most expensive piece in this collection at $12,000. The least expensive of the group is 10% of that!
More of a connoisseur’s piece is the Bozzetto for l’ Eléctricité, 1889 Louis-Erenest Barrias (1841–1905). It was the model for a seven meter high sculpture that graced the entry of the Palais des Machines at the Exposition Universelle of 1889 (the same fair for which the Eiffel Tower was built!) Unfortunately the bottom of the legs of the figure, upper left, have broken off. My father always said, “the older the pieces are, the better the condition the clients want to the piece to be in.” The plus side, however, means that the price of the work of art will be much lower and possibly affordable. In this case $5,000. That is why I called it more of a connoisseur’s piece. You have to understand it, love it and know how good and interesting it is.