RELEASE | The Last Two Marble Mourners from the Tomb of the Duc de Berry - Paris, 30 May 2016

Paris

THE LAST TWO MARBLE MOURNERS
FROM THE TOMB OF THE DUC DE BERRY

to be offered at auction in Paris on 15 June 2016

Paris – Christie’s is pleased to announce that on 15 June, during the European Sculpture and Works of Art sale, treasures of medieval statuary will be auctioned: the last two figures of Mourners from the tomb of Jean de France (1340-1416), duc de Berry and brother of King Charles V (1338-1380), executed by Jean de Cambrai (known from 1375 to 1438) in Bourges circa 1396-1416.

Isabelle d’Amécourt, Head of the European Sculpture and Works of Art department: “In November 2013, two alabaster figures of Mourners from the same tomb sold for over €4M, marking a significant milestone. The sale on 15 June will offer a unique opportunity to acquire the last two marble Mourners from the same collection, and executed by Jean de Cambrai, one of the most important sculptor of his time”.

Jean de France was the third son of the French King Jean II le Bon (1319-1364), and considered one of the most prestigious patrons of his time. He set out to rebuild and renovate the castles on his main estates, and commissioned many important works of arts including the celebrated Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, illuminated by the Limbourg brothers and displayed at the Condé Museum in Chantilly. The Holy Thorn Reliquary and Saint Agnes Cup, valued treasures of the British Museum in London, also came from his collection.

Following a tradition established by the French royal family, the duc de Berry commissioned his own tomb and appointed the sculptor Jean de Cambrai (died in 1438), a former collaborator of André Beauneveu (circa 1335-1400), to build it. The grave was to be built in the Sainte-Chapelle of the Ducal Palace at Bourges, and was designed with a life-size recumbent statue lying on a marble slab and a base decorated with a procession of forty mourners sheltered by architectural canopies. Jean de Cambrai executed the recumbent statue and five marble mourners, including ours, before Jean de France died in 1416, and any further construction had to be stopped. His grand-nephew and heir, King Charles VII, entrusted the completion of the mourners’ gallery circa 1450-1453 to Etienne Bobillet (active between 1416 and 1453) and Paul Mosselmann (active between 1441 and 1467). The present marble mourners were carved fully in the round, endowed with expressive faces and with contained postures, accentuated by vertical drapery folds, making them feel very contemporary.

The tomb was completed around 1453-59, and for three centuries lay in the center of the choir of the Sainte-Chapelle in Bourges. In 1756 the building was demolished and the duc de Berry’s tomb was moved into the cathedral’s crypt and likely sustained damage at that time. During the French Revolution, the tomb was vandalized: the architectural canopies were hammered, and the mourning figures ended up either destroyed or scattered. Only the black marble slab and the recumbent figure remained unscathed, and are still preserved within the cathedral of Bourges. To this day, twenty nine mourners have been identified. Most of them are kept in some of the most prestigious museums, including the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Hermitage museum.

The mourners that will be offered at auction on 15 June 2016 are the last remaining marbles to be kept in private hands. They have been in the same family since 1807, and are considered a rare artistic display of medieval statuary.

Vente : Mercredi 15 juin 2016 à 14h

Exposition publique : lundi 13 et mardi 14 juin de 10h à 18h

Christie’s Paris : 9 avenue Matignon – 75008 – Paris

 

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.