A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE CELADON PORCELAIN CARP VASES
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE CELADON PORCELAIN CARP VASES
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE CELADON PORCELAIN CARP VASES
5 More
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE CELADON PORCELAIN CARP VASES
8 More
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE CELADON PORCELAIN CARP VASES

ALMOST CERTAINLY SUPPLIED BY LAZARE DUVAUX, THE PORCELAIN QIANLONG (1735-1795), THE MOUNTS CIRCA 1750-1755

Details
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE CELADON PORCELAIN CARP VASES
ALMOST CERTAINLY SUPPLIED BY LAZARE DUVAUX, THE PORCELAIN QIANLONG (1735-1795), THE MOUNTS CIRCA 1750-1755
The porcelain bodies naturalistically modeled with a carp and its young with open mouths, each issuing elaborately chased ormolu mounts with C-scrolls and scrolled acanthus, the S-pattern handle wrapped with bulrushes and C-scrolls on elaborate naturalistically modeled plinth with bold C-scrolls, coral, acanthus, shells and sponges, the base with ormolu-applied plate to the underside
12 ½ in. (31.8 cm.) high; 7 ¼ in. (18.5 cm.) deep
Provenance
Possibly Pierre-Victor baron de Besenval in his hôtel in the rue de Grenelle, Paris and subsequently sold Paris, 10 August 1795, as part of lot 148.
The Rodolphe Kann Collection (1844-1905), Paris.
Martin and Laura Bromberg, Hamburg; acquired from the estate of the above via Duveen & Co, London, 14 September, 1907.
Henry and Hertha Bromberg, Hamburg, by descent.
Galerie F Kleinberger (Allan Loebl), Paris, acquired from the above, circa December 1938.
Wildenstein Collection, acquired from the above, 6 March 1939.
Thence by descent in the family until sold, Christie's, King Street, 14-15 December 2005, lot 45.
Private collection, United States.

The work is being offered for sale pursuant to a settlement agreement between the current owner and the heirs of Henry and Hertha Bromberg. This settlement agreement resolves the dispute over ownership of the work and title will pass to the successful bidder.
Literature
J. Mannheim, et. al., Catalogue de la Collection Rodolphe Kann, Paris, 1907, vol. II, p. 133, p. 32.
P. Gallois, ‘Baron de Besenval’s Eclectic Eye’, The Furniture History Society, Newsletter 221, février 2021, pp.3-4 ill. 1.
Special notice

This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Lot Essay

This model is first recorded in the Livre-Journal of the marchand-mercier Lazare Duvaux in 1750. On 16 October, Louis XV's mistress Madame de Pompadour, (e Antoinette Poisson) acquired '621. Du 10 Mme la Marq. de Pompadour..Quatre morceaux de porcelaine céladon, dont deux en forme de cornets & deux poissons, le tout garni en bronze doré d'or moulu'. In 1752, the marquise bought a further deux poissons céladon (cabinet de Versailles) and the taste was rapidly echoed throughout the Court, particularly amateurs like M. Gaignat, Jean de Juliennne and Blondel d'Azincourt.

Duvaux's Livre-Journal reveals the discrepancy in cost between the varying models and the quality of the ciseleur, although the cost of the porcelain itself far exceeded that of the ormolu mounts. Thus, Watteau's great patron Jean de Julienne's pair, acquired from Duvaux on the 27 June 1753 and described as 'Deux poissons de porcelaine céladon, formant des cruches, montés en bronze doré d'or moulu cost 960 livres'; in 1751 M. Gaignat acquired 'Deux poissons d'ancienne porcelaine céladon, garnis en bronze doré d'or moulu, form de buire', which this time cost 1200 livres and was depicted by Gabriel de Saint-Aubin as marginalia in one of his sale catalogues ; the pair acquired by Blondel d'Azincourt, the Intendant des Menus-Plaisirs and a most exacting patron, were almost double the first - 17 October 1755 'M. d'Azincourt..Deux poissons aussi céladon montés en buires, 1800 l'; A pair mounted as ewers was also sold to the ‘Prince de Turenne’ on 13 December 1754 and to ‘Monseigneur le Duc d’Orléans’ on 20 March 1756.

A clearer understanding of the relative costs of such elaborate ormolu mounts vis-à-vis the porcelain can be gleaned again from Duvaux, who in 1752 supplied Madame de Pompadour with 'Quatre pieds à contours en cuivre ciselé doré d'or moulu pour deux petits vases de porcelain brune & deux poissons céladon (Cabinet de Versailles), [42 l]'.

The enduring popularity of the model throughout the second half of the 18th century is confirmed both through Duvaux's Livre-Journal and the comparatively high proliferation of this model in 18th century sale catalogues and Inventories. Indeed, even as the ancien régime was crumbling, Louis XVI's Commander-in-Chief of the ill-fated Swiss Guards, the Baron de Besenval, was immortalised in Henri-Pierre Danloux's 1791 portrait with just such a pair of vases upon the mantelpiece.

A sublime reflection of the pittoresque fantasy in the full-blown Rococo style, this form of ewer was only ever intended as ornamental. Although distinctive, categoric identification of this model in 18th century sales records is nigh on impossible owing to both the brief descriptions and the fact that three closely related models were executed, all presumably by the same bronzier working for Duvaux. These three models comprise:

VASES OF THE WILDENSTEIN MODEL, WITH THE FISHES MOUTH AS A SPOUT:
- a pair sold from the collection of Conseulo Vanderbilt, Sotheby's, New York, 9 December 1994, lot 136. This pair is almost identical to the present and can be as well the vase visible in Danloux’s portrait of Baron de Besenval. Other pairs with slight different mounts to the carps’ lips are known:

-a pair at Harewood House, Yorkshire; these also have the same ormolu plate to the underside.
-a pair in the Royal Collection (RCIN 360).
-a garniture of three in the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon (Isabel Pereira Coutinho, Gulbenkian Museum, 1998, no.100, p.126);
-a pair in The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (1927.165; 1927.166).
-a pair sold by Lord Robert Crichton- Stuart, Sotheby’s, London, 3 July 1959, lot 114.
-another pair was sold (without dating) from the Basil and Elise Gouland collection at Christie’s, London, 11 June 1992, lot 64.

VASES WITH THE TAIL AS THE SPOUT: these include the pair from the Hastings Collection at Melton Constable, Norfolk, now in the Widener collection at the National Gallery of Art, Washington (discussed in Sir Francis Watson, 'Mounted Oriental Porcelain', Exhibition Catalogue, Washington, 1986, no.32).

VASES IN THE FORM OF PAIRED CARP, such as the central vase of the Gulbenkian Garniture cited above, as well as that in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (illustrated in J. Lunsingh Scheerler, Chinesisches und Japanisches Porzellan in europaîschen Fassungen, Wurzburg, 1980, p.336, fig. 329); as well as those offered anonymously at Sotheby's New York, 3 May 1986, lot 40.


THE BROMBERG FAMILY

Dr. jur. Henry Bromberg (1878-1971) was part of the prominent extended family of renowned collector Rodolphe Kann (1845- 1905). This family included not only the Brombergs – Henry’s father Martin (1850- 1918) had married Eleonore Kann (1852-1927), Rodolphe’s sister, – but also the Emdens. Martin’s collection of Old Masters and decorative arts, as documented in a 1913 private publication, was expanded by Henry’s own collecting and curation. Henry married Hertha née Calmon (1899-1964) and they lived in a large mansion in Hamburg-Eppendorf with their four sons.

When the Nazis came to power, the Bromberg faced the increasing restrictions and persecutory measures levelled at Germany’s Jewish community. They made preparations to emigrate to the United States via Switzerland in 1938, including paying the punitive ‘flight’ and property taxes, funded partly by the forced sale of artwork. To further fund their flight, Henry Bromberg sold a number of pieces, including these vases, to the Paris-based dealer Allen Loebl.

More from The Exceptional Sale

View All
View All