Sotheby's to sell "most significant" collection of French paintings



2015-06-26 11:26:44

A special Sotheby's sale in Paris later this year will offer the Louis Grandchamp des Raux collection, described as "the most significant collection of French 17th and 18th century paintings to be offered at auction for the last twenty years".

Held in conjunction with Artcurial and the Cabinet Eric Turquin, the sale will present around 50 rare and important works acquired by Grandchamp des Raux over more than 25 years.

The collection includes works by many of the period's masters, such as JeanHonoré Fragonard, François Boucher, Louyse Moillon, François Desportes, Anne Vallayer-Coster and Hubert Robert, along with paintings by lesser-known artists including Pierre-Antoine Lemoine and Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié.

"I met Louis Grandchamp des Raux in the 1980s," says Eric Turquin, an art specialist who helped build the collection. "It was the start of a project that lasted nearly 30 years. He was initially drawn to Dutch and Flemish painting from the first half of the 17th century. Then, as he explored painting with increasing passion, his taste naturally developed – firstly for 17th century French painting, then for that of the 18th century, whose delicacy and refinement he relished."

"The great step forward came with the purchase of two major Desportes, some Boucher, and finally some Fragonard: the crowning achievement of his approach as an aesthete and collector. The sale of this collection of paintings is tremendously exciting. It illustrates the many stages of this journey, which is more or less the path I followed myself at the beginning of my career as a specialist.’

Notable lots in the sale include Louyse Moillon's 'Still life with peaches on a pewter plate', painted in 1634 and estimated at €400,000-€600,000; 'Portrait of a Woman with Violin' executed in 1773 by Anne Vallayer-Coster and valued at €300,000-€400,000; and François Desportes' masterpiece 'Hunting scene with dogs, partridges and pheasants', a royal commission painted in 1702 and estimated at €250,000-€300,000.

Paintings from the collection will be exhibited in New York and Brussels, before hitting the auction block in Paris on March 26.

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