For the next edition of TEFAF Maastricht (11-19 March 2023), the Steinitz Gallery, renowned for its spectacular stands, has selected furniture and objects that are exceptional in terms of aesthetics, provenance and rarity. Among the highlights on display in the gallery, connoisseurs will discover fine furniture and objets d'art that are absolute milestones in art history.
For example, they will discover an exceptional patinated bronze 'horse in step', a famous model by Giovanni da Bologna (1529-1608), cast by Antonio Susini (1558-1624) or Giovanni Francesco Susini (1585-c. 1653). Executed in Florence at the beginning of the 17th century, this piece holds a place of honour. It is one of the best examples of this model, a reduction of the horse from the monumental bronze equestrian statue of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici, made by Giovanni da Bologna, erected in Piazza della Signoria in Florence in 1594, and inspired by the ancient bronze equestrian portrait of Marcus Aurelius, now in the Capitoline Museum in Rome.
A similar horse can be found in the famous painting by Willem van Haecht (1593-1637) in Rubens' house in Antwerp, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, bequeathed by George Salting in 1910, in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in the Grünes Gewölbe in Dresden and in the collections of His Majesty the King of England.
Also to be admired is an extraordinary 'rocaille' console with a hunting trophy - a boar hunt attributed to Jacques Verberckt (1704-1771). Coming from the Williams-Wynn collection, this large two-metre long console table is dated around 1740 and crowned by an imposing Campan marble top in moulded and carved oak, still with its original gilding and repairs. Its unusual monumentality and virtuosity raise the question of its original, necessarily prestigious provenance. This console table was the subject of an in-depth study by François Gilles, an ornamental sculptor, who was able to demonstrate, thanks above all to very precise comparisons with details of ornaments and decorative elements made by Verberckt and his workshop for the flats of the Château de Versailles - in particular that of the Dauphin of 1747 - that the general spirit of the sculpture of this console table, its nervousness, its measure, its subtlety, did indeed correspond to the talent of this exceptional sculptor.
Also worth mentioning are two commodes from the Louis XV era, dated around 1750-1755, stamped by Bernard II Van Riesen Burgh (d. 1696-1766), with chinoiserie decorations executed in red Martin varnish and gold, from the collection of the Dukes of La Rochefoucauld-Doudeauville in their private residence at 47 rue de Varenne in Paris.
Of remarkable quality of execution, these pieces of furniture were certainly commissioned and marketed by Lazare-Duvaux (c. 1703 - 1758), one of the leading merchants of the time, based in rue Saint-Honoré, who specialised in lacquer furniture from the Far East and for whom B.V.R.B. made numerous pieces of furniture, several of which were sold to the King and Madame de Pompadour. Between 1748 and 1758, this merchant produced only ten chests of drawers in red lacquer, which gives us an idea of the rarity of this type of furniture. And of these ten pieces of furniture, five could correspond to the two chests of drawers, as they have the same dimensions and are offered at the same price, which allows us to think that these pieces of furniture, if not identical, must have been very similar.
Exceptionally, these five mentions of sales by de Duvaux, which took place between 18 May 1754 and 1 March 1758, reveal the names of the original purchasers: 'M. Dufour, le père', 'Mme la Duchesse de Mirepoix', 'Mme la Marquise d'Haussy', 'H.S.H. Mgr le Duc d'Orléans' and 'M. Duperron'.
Only five chests of drawers matching these descriptions are known to date. Three of these pieces of furniture now belong to important institutions: one is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon (bequest of Edma and Anthelme Trimolet, 1883); a second, from the Breuvard collection in Roubaix, belongs to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; a third is in the collections of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, leaving only the two chests of drawers in the Steinitz Gallery still available on the art market.
Connoisseurs will also appreciate a unique milestone in the history of French furniture, which initiated the 'Greek taste' in Paris in the late 1750s. This is a shell cabinet made by Joseph Baumhauer (1747-1772) decorated with bronzes by Philippe Caffieri (1714-1774), all executed around 1758 to designs by Louis-Joseph Le Lorrain (1715-1759), after a large flat desk and its cardboard cabinet now preserved at the Château de Chantilly, for the cabinet of Ange-Laurent de Lalive de Jully (1725-1779), "introducer of ambassadors" to Louis XV and honorary member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, in his hotel in rue de Ménars in Paris.
Stamped 'Joseph' and twice 'J.-F. Leleu', this important piece of furniture was bought after the death of Lalive de Jully, at the same time as the hotel in rue de Ménars, by Jacques-Philippe de Choiseul-Stainville (1727-1789), Marshal of France and brother of Étienne-François, Duke of Choiseul-Stainville (1719-1785), minister of Louis XV. It was moved around 1785 to the Marshal's new private residence in rue d'Artois in Paris, where it remained until its sale on 23 November 1789. Owned by Seligmann in Paris in the 1920s, it was sold by him to Sir Philip Sassoon (1888-1939) and adorned the latter's sumptuous home at 25 Park Lane, London, inventoried twice in the library before 1927 and in 1939. This shell cabinet was exhibited in London in 1933 by Sir Philip Sassoon at the exhibition 'Three French Reigns (Louis XIV, XV, & XVI), Loan Exhibition in Aid of the Royal Northern Hospital at 25 Park Lane'. By descent, it then belonged to his sister Sybil Rachel Betty (1894-1989), née Sassoon, Marquess of Cholmondeley, at Houghton Hall, Norfolk.
The stand will also feature a pair of large cups assembled in 'serpentine marble from the Vosges', successively from the collections of Jean-Nicolas de Boullongne (1726-1787), Louis XV's Intendant of Finance from 1753, and the banker Guillaume Sabatier (1730-1808), cousin of Cambacérès and founding shareholder of the Bank of France under the Consulate and Empire. Made in Paris around 1770-1775, this pair of richly assembled cups belonged to the collection of Jean-Nicolas de Boullongne (1726-1787) in his private residence in the rue Saint-Honoré in Paris.
Acquired during the second Boullongne sale in November 1787 in Paris by the merchant Philippe-François Julliot (1755-1836), they then belonged to Jean-Baptiste-Charles-François de Clermont d'Amboise (1728-1792) before being seized by the revolution in June 1793 in his hotel in the rue de Montholon in Paris; they were inventoried in the Nesle depository in 1794 and sent to the Museum central des Arts (the Louvre) in August 1794. They then became the property of the banker Guillaume Sabatier (1730-1808), cousin of Jean-Jacques Régis de Cambaceres (1753-1824), and decorated his private hotel known as the Hotel Durfort, on the Place Vendôme in Paris.
Nature revealing herself - a young woman (an allegory of Nature), gently lifts the veils with which she is wrapped -, an extraordinary sculpture in polychrome marble and Algerian onyx, adorned with a malachite scarab, with a lapis lazuli ribbon, and resting on a granite base signed 'E. BARRIAS' on the right side, will harmoniously punctuate the space.
It is the only reduction (H. 102 cm.) made by the sculptor Ernest Barrias (18411905) between 1902 and 1904 in polychrome marble, from the large version (H. 200 cm.) now in the Musée d'Orsay. It was made for "Monsieur Watel à Paris". The Watels belonged to an important family of bankers, businessmen and industrialists from the north of France, at the time consisting of three brothers settled in Paris, the sons of Louis Watel, a works contractor and then a banker, councillor of the city of Paris and administrator of the Montechino oil fields in Italy.
Nature revealing herself was originally commissioned from Barrias in 1889 to decorate the new Faculty of Medicine in Bordeaux. After completing the first version in white marble for the building in Bordeaux, Barrias designed a second one, this time in polychrome, for the grand staircase of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris (Musée d'Orsay). For this he used marble and onyx from rediscovered quarries in Algeria. Carefully carved to enhance the decorative capabilities of the materials, the different pieces play on the veining of ribbon-like onyx for the veil, mottled red marble for the dress, the preciousness of lapis lazuli for the eyes and malachite for the scarab, and coral for the mouth and lips. The overall effect is surprisingly rich. The work is part of a vast movement to rediscover polychrome sculpture, initiated by archaeological findings and illustrated fifty years earlier by Charles Cordier. Given the work's success, many editions were produced, but only one, the one offered by the Steinitz Gallery, was made in polychrome marble identical to the large version.
Founded in 1968 by Bernard Steinitz, the Steinitz Gallery has achieved worldwide fame and has become one of the most prestigious galleries in the world. The presentation and discovery of rare and high-quality objects has enabled the gallery to establish a privileged relationship with museums and cultural institutions: the Louvre Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the J.-P. Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Jerusalem Museum. Benjamin Steinitz, who joined the family business in 1991, now presides over the fortunes of the Steinitz Gallery and is particularly known for presenting exhibitions, all of which are recognised for their excellence. Thanks to a sometimes daring but always top-notch décor of parquet, boiseries and fabrics, the gallery establishes a dialogue between 17th, 18th and 19th century art objects, rare and high-quality furniture, the true signature of the 'Steinitz taste'. The Steinitz Gallery has a long family tradition and combines know-how and experience to address an extremely demanding clientele. The gallery's collection includes not only French and European works, but also rare pieces from Asia, India, Russia and South America.
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6 rue Royale, Paris VIIIe
tel. +33 (1)56 43 66 70,