Christie’s charges a premium to the buyer on the Hammer Price of each lot sold at the following rates: 29.75% of the Hammer Price of each lot up to and including €5,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €5,001 and €400,000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €400,001. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.
THE PROPERTY OF A LADY Le Maison Fouquet, accommodated at the 35 avenue de L'Opera, was one of Paris' grand jewellers at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. The firm was founded in 1860 by Alphonse Fouquet (1828 - 1911), who primarily designed and created jewellery in the Neo-Renaissance style. In his later designs Art Nouveau elements like dragonflies and maidens can be recognized, but they lack the movement and sinuous lines so typical for the Art Nouveau style.
After working for his father's firm for four years, Alphonse's eldest son Georges Fouquet (1862 - 1957) took over the ownership of Maison Fouquet in 1895. Georges Fouquet developed his father's style to distinctive Art Nouveau jewels, thus breaking with the Neo-renaissance tradition of the firm. In 1898 the first items in the new style were exhibited at the Salon of the Société des Artistes Français. The jewels made by Georges Fouquet are mainly executed in gold with details in enamel and (semi)precious stones; mostly opals and baroque pearls. The designs are for the greater part stylistical reproductions of flora and fauna, for example orchids, dragonflies and snakes. The influence of designs from the animal life can be seen in the sautoir that is offered for sale. The pendants are decorated with sinuous floral scrolls and petite enamel butterflies. The sautoir also shows Fouquet's fondness for the use of (baroque) pearls.
Georges Fouquet's best known enameller was Etienne Tourette, who also worked for Henri Vever. Tourette was initiated in the technique of plique-á-jour by his teacher Louis Houillon. Tourette's work is known, beside his technical competence and fabulous use of color, for a technique he developed: During the process of enameling he added minute pieces of silver, gold or platinum (so called "paillons") which created an extra sparkle in the enamel. Among his regular designers are two renowned names, namely Charles Desrosiers and Alphonse Mucha. Desrosiers was a pupil of Eugène Grasset, one of the pioneers in Art Nouveau. Through his designs the jewellery of Maison Fouquet became more elegant. In addition, they established the position of Maison Fouquet as an important Art Nouveau jeweler. Desrosiers designs were immensely popular and praised for their beauty and their use of colour and material.
The collaboration with Alphonse Mucha started with a series of designs for the World Fair in Paris in 1900. In the same year Mucha designed the façade and the interior for the new store on the 6, Rue Royale in Paris, which was opened in 1901. The most famous cooperation between Georges Fouquet and Alphonse Mucha is probably the snake bracelet they designed for the French actrice Sarah Bernhardt. (sold at Christie's Geneva, 11 May 1989, for SFr. 900.000). After 1910 Georges Fouquet switched to a more modest, Edwardian style. In 1925 his son Jean Fouquet joined the firm. The designs by Jean Fouquet (1899 - 1984) are executed in the Art Deco style and considered as highly original. Jean Fouquet's idea was that jewellery should be seen from a far and therefore should have a daring design. Maison Fouquet closed in 1936 due to a bankruptcy. Jean Fouquet made jewellery on commission until the end of the 1950's.