Maitre Osenat had never seen his auction room as packed as it was for this sale of part of the Napoleonic collections of Monaco's royal family. The total of €10 million taken over two days left the high estimate of €4 million far behind. Every nationality was represented, and collectors were far less reserved than usual, to the great surprise of some of the regulars. The happy winner of Napoleon's hat, pictures of which had been widely circulated outside France, was present in the room, and everyone applauded his historic result: €1,880,000! He was bidding on behalf of the President of the Harim Group, the South Korean company he was representing, and does not intend to stop there: he plans to collect more objects that contributed to the Napoleonic legend in the future. Presenting itself as a leader in its sector, the food industry firm has decided to invest in the figure of Napoleon: an ambitious leader of men adopted as a symbol of success, whose aura now takes on an unexpected dimension. Collectors will appreciate this "publicity stunt"… Yet the second notable object in the sale, the "Colossal antique-style bust of Emperor Napoleon I" by Antonio Canova's studio, eluded this particular connoisseur, going instead to another foreign collection for €705,999: triple its estimate. A plate from the Sèvres "Service des Quartiers Généraux" – doubly historic as it depicts the Emperor's tent on Lobau Island in 1809, and was taken to Saint Helena by the great man himself – sent bids spiralling. Bearing the number 14, and painted in around 1810 by Swebach-Desfontaines after drawings by Laborde, it attracted six times the expected figure when it went for €528,080. Similarly, a rifle from the Royal (later Imperial) Hunt largely exceeded its estimate when it shot up to €322,000.
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Who but Picasso can boast of having seven museums named after him in Europe, no less? The one in Paris, the most important, is now re-opening in the Marais, renovated and redesigned after a long spell in purdah. The inaugural chronological hang devised by Anne Baldassari, the museum's former director, restores all the splendour of the works, inventiveness and constantly renewed career of this revolutionary in painting: a quintessential artist of the 20th century. "At the age of ten, I painted like Raphael, but it took my whole life to be able to draw like a child," said Picasso. The Hôtel Salé now has 37 rooms compared with the previous 20. "Three are devoted to Marie-Thérèse, whom my grandfather would wake up at night to show her what he had painted. Before, Picasso's women used to be an underground affair. Now they have moved to the upper floors!" smiles Olivier Picasso. Of the artist's many companions, Marie-Thérèse is the one who commands the highest prices in the market: in 2010, the "Nu au plateau de sculpteur" of 1932 topped the €86 million mark at auction…
Gerhard Richter is as much in the limelight as ever, in both museums and auction rooms. He is the star of the upcoming Versailles Enchères sale with this painting of 1999, "Abstraktes Bild 857-1". Although he has expressed himself in many different forms throughout his career, trying his hand at sculpture and drawing, and integrating photography into his work, Richter sees himself primarily as a painter.
The motto inscribed on this jade seal refers to a pavilion: a peaceful place where the Qianlong Emperor liked to withdraw. This could have been the Yue Xin Dian on the island in Beihai Park in Beijing, or an imperial residence, "the Jingyi Gardens" of Tianqin: a huge complex of pavilions and gardens laid out between 1744 and 1754. The stamp features in the collection of seals entitled "Qing dai di hou xi yin pu"…
Maitre Osenat had never seen his auction room as packed as it was for this sale of part of the Napoleonic collections of Monaco's royal family. The total of €10 million taken over two days left the high estimate of €4 million far behind. Every nationality was represented, and collectors were far less reserved than usual, to the great surprise of some of the regulars. The happy winner of Napoleon's hat…
It could be said that Adrian Cheng is following in his family’s footsteps. Aged thirty-five, he is part of an extensive business dynasty; his grandfather Yu-Tung Cheng, with an estimated fortune of $13.7 billion, occupies 76th place on the Forbes list.It was he who founded the family empire some eighty-five years ago, creating Chow Tai Fook Jewellery, a jewellery brand that has now also become a retailer.
After the ritual bronzes of the Meiyintang collection, the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques de Paris continues its exploration of Ancient China. "Splendor of the Han” looks back over the epic period of the Chinese emperors who reigned from 202 BC to 220 AD over a huge territory only rivalled at the time by Rome. Staged to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China.
Imaginary interview with Perugino. Fontignano, 1523.
The master welcomes us to this small village, where he is decorating the parish church.
Your maniera dolce has been praised throughout Europe. How do you explain this? When I arrived in Florence in 1470, I brought a type of sweetness from Umbria that contrasted markedly with the grandiloquent feel of the reign of Lorenzo the Magnificent.
December 2014 Edition
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