Christie’s is honoured to present, in collaboration with the auction house Tajan, an important collection of paintings and drawings from the Marcille collection, one of 19th century France’s most visionary family of collectors of 18th century art. Started by François Marcille, this exceptional group of 4,600 works was expanded by his two sons, Camille and Eudoxe (curators for the Musée de Chartres and the Musée d’Orléans, respectively), before being dispersed amongst family members through inheritance. This selection of 27 paintings and drawings to be presented on the 22nd of November from one of the branches of the Marcille family is a tribute to the greatest French artists of the 18th and early 19th centuries, including Jean-Siméon Chardin, Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, Théodore Gericault, Charles Coypel and Pierre-Paul Prud’hon.
Among the works presented is a superb genre scene from Chardin, The water urn. This work in particular struck critics with its originality and contributed to the rediscovery of the “French Vermeer” during the second half of the 19th century. Another painting by Chardin included in this sale, Winter, in imitation of a bas-relief after Edmé Bouchardon, is proof of the admiration the Marcille family had for the painter and also reveals another aspect of the artist’s work: the trompe l’oeil.
Of the selection of drawings presented at sale, the 18th century is represented by a pastel attributed to Maurice-Quentin de la Tour, the Portrait of Anne-Jeanne Cassanéa de Mondonville, born Boucon, and portrays the celebrated musician at her harpsicord, her favourite instrument.
A beautiful group of drawings by the Neoclassical artist Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, for whom the Marcille family had a particular passion, will also be included in this sale.
Our specialist’s selection
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With over 10 years of experience, Hélène was instrumental in some of the most remarkable sales at Christie’s Paris, including a private Ddawings collection from 1500–1900 in 2007 (€ 2,100,000) and Pierre Bergé & Yves Saint Laurent Sale in 2009. She led the remarkable drawings section in auctions such as the Trésors de la collection Veil Picard (€9,700,000). In 2015, she assisted in the sale of a study for the famous painting the Death of Socrate in the Old Master Drawings New York auction. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which owns the painting, acquired the drawing for US$593,000.
She was involved in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts drawings exhibition in Paris, Une Dynastie de Peintres, les Parrocel (2008) and she also wrote several essays for the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Marseille exhibition catalogue, L’art et la manière. Dessins français du XVIIIe siècle (2018).