Paris – The sale containing works from the former collection of the Marquis de La Fayette is to be held in Paris on 23rd June 2010. It represents a truly amazing array of objects and paintings belonging to Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, which are being offered at auction for the very first time in their long history.

The sale includes many pictures of the Marquis, as well as his elder daughter Anastasie de la Tour-Maubourg, and his granddaughter Clémentine de Brigode. However it is the link between General La Fayette and George Washington which is the central theme to this collection.

Among the many works from the collection, is a wonderful Portrait of George Washington, after Gilbert Stuart by Ary Sheffer (estimate: € 80,000-120,000). This portrait, commissioned in 1825 by the General La Fayette, as a copy of the famous painting by Gilbert Stuart from 1796, shows the important bond that linked the American president, the French General and the Dutch painter.                                                     

The sale also contains a stunning white marble bust of La Fayette by Jean-David d’Angers (estimate: € 40,000-60,000) as well as a commemorative crystal vase celebrating his very last journey.  This beautiful object is also decorated with an engraved locket showing the castle of La Grange Bléneau (estimate:  € 5,000-8,000).

Other, less important objects that shed some light on the private life of the Marquis include two early 19th century walking sticks. One with a golden handle encircled by a silver ring with ‘R.G. to Lafayette’ inscribed, the other, carved from walnut, the handle made from bone. They are estimated 2,000-3,000 euros. Alongside these two wonderfully personal objects is a late 18th century parasol that once belonged to George Washington. The parasol has ‘Mount Vernon 1799’ and ‘La Grange 1825’ inscribed in silver on the handles and has a low estimate of 1,000 euros.  Another, more intimate object on offer is a small early 19th century gold cross embedded with hair from the Marchioness de La Fayette (estimate: € 800 – 1,000).

Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de la Fayette

Gilbert du Motier was born in 1757 in the Auvergne region of France. His father died when he was just 2 years old, his mother and grandfather died 11 years later, leaving the young boy with a large inheritance. Lafayette, who came from a long line of soldiers, studied at the Military Academy in Versailles and to the position of captain in the French cavalry at the tender age of 16. In 1777, he set sail for America to fight in the revolution against the British. Lafayette joined the ranks assigned to the staff of George Washington. He led American forces to several victories. In 1779, Lafayette persuaded the French government to send aid to the Americans. After the British surrender at Yorktown, Lafayette returned to Paris. He had become a hero in the newly formed United States of America. At home, Lafayette cooperated closely with Ambassadors Benjamin Franklin, and then Thomas Jefferson on behalf of American interests. After 1782, Lafayette was bombarded with questions of reform in France. He was one of the first to work toward the establishment of a constitutional monarchy during the French Revolution. These efforts cost him much of his support from the French nobility and in 1830, he became the leader of a Revolution that dethroned the Bourbons. He refused the presidency of the new republic a number of times, and instead helped make Louis-Philippe the constitutional monarch of France. Just before his death in 1834 he began to regret his support of Louis-Philippe and backed the move for a ‘purer’ French republic.

Auction: June 23, 3pm
Exhibition: June 19, 21, 22 from 10am to 6pm.


Images available on request

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