The first part of the auction, Paintings from 1400-1900, sees some of the greatest artist of the Renaissance period brought together.

A few star pieces in the auction are: A Virgin with the child of the Maestro di Popiglio; a diptych of Sassoferrato; a painting from the workshop of Titian; paintings by the Flemish school of the 17th century; a Still Life by François Habert; portraits of Hyacinthe and Gaspard Rigaud; landscapes of Prosper François Irénée Barrique; a representation of Chactas by Louis Edouard Rioult and three works by Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer.

Attributed to Simone Cantarini, dit Il Pesarese, Études de têtes Attributed to Simone Cantarini, dit Il Pesarese, Études de têtes

Study of heads, attributed to Simone Cantarini (Pesaro 1612-1648 Verona) is an interesting piece in the auction. Despite the ostentatious "G.Reni" inscription in the bottom left of the composition, the piece is not identified as a Guido Reni original. Instead, this study in oil on paper mounted on canvas is the work of Simone Cantarini, a pupil of Reni's from 1634 to 1639.

Probably painted during the years that Cantarini spent in the Bolognese workshop of Guido, the work is composed of two inclined figures that gaze to their left. Juvenile figures are often found in oeuvre of Cantarini, such as The Dream of Joseph, which is currently housed in the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti in Rome, which bears a resemblance to the piece on offer in Christie's Paris auction.

Horace Vernet, Cavalier arabe, dit aussi "La Retraite" Horace Vernet, Cavalier arabe, dit aussi "La Retraite"

Another unmissable piece is Cavalier arabe, dit aussi 'La Retraite', painted by Horace Vernet (Paris 1789-1863).

Horace Vernet, a contemporary of Louis-Philippe, had a brilliant career punctuated by major official commissions. After his grandfather Joseph (1714-1789) and his father Charles (1758 - 1836), he was the last great painter of a true dynasty.

With an innate talent, this painter obsessed over details in his representations of the French military in the 19th century. Horace Vernet, famous for his representations of revolutionary battles as well as Napoleonic campaigns. Vernet was also the official painter of the Algerian campaign, which led to the annexation of Algeria to the Crown of France in 1834, under Louis-Philippe.

Works by Horace Vernet. Left: The Battle of Jemmapes, London, National Gallery. Right: The Battle of Jena, Versailles, musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon Works by Horace Vernet. Left: The Battle of Jemmapes, London, National Gallery. Right: The Battle of Jena, Versailles, musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

This expansion of French colonies in North Africa paved the way for Orientalism in French painting. In 1832, artist Delacroix went to Morocco and a year later Vernet went to Algeria.

It was during his time in Algeria that Vernet would have painted the piece up for auction at Christie's. Fascinated by the French army as well as their valiant adversaries, Vernet narrates the retreat of an Arab rider, dressed in his burnous, as he aims to shoot his pursuers.

Image: Christie's Image: Christie's

The second part of the auction: 20th century: The Art of Figuration 1900-1950 features Frederico Armando Beltran Massés, Georges Hanna Sabbagh, Fernand Lantoine, Raphël Delorme, André Devambez and Henri Deluermoz.

Bernard Boutet de Monvel, La Charette, 1906 Bernard Boutet de Monvel, La Charette, 1906

La Charrette is the work of the French painter, aquafortist and illustrator Bernard Boutet de Monvel (Paris 1881-1949 Azores.) Son of the painter Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel (1850-1913), Bernard Boutet de Monvel proved gifted from a very young age. In 1903, he exhibited at the Salons français et américain. In 1906, Charrette also exhibited at the Salon d'Automne.

A storyteller narrating the scenes of everyday life, Boutet de Monvel was initially labelled mundane by his contemporaries and the critics. A war hero, Monvel did not resume painting until 1917. He did so in Morocco, where he painted numerous views of Fez, Rabat, Marrakech in a rigorous geometric style, sometimes drawing segments of straight lines by a ruler. These clear and precise forms, which characterize his post-war style, are already evolving in La Charrette.

Bernard Boutet of Monvel. Left: Portrait of Georges Menier (circa 1925) Right: New York Street (1928) Centre Pompidou Bernard Boutet of Monvel. Left: Portrait of Georges Menier (circa 1925) Right: New York Street (1928) Centre Pompidou

Following the stock market crash of 1929, which resulted in withdrawn commissions and fewer clients, Monvel tried his hand at the skyscrapers of New York.

See more from Christie's here.

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