Anyone captivated by the finest 19th century sculptures should make plans to visit London on Thursday September 20th and head straight for Christie’s King Street auction rooms. The Opulent Eye – 500 Years of Decorative Arts in Europe includes an important private collection of 19th century marble sculpture.
Comprising 20 lots, Christie’s experts estimate that this unique collection will attract total bids in excess of £400,000. Consisting largely of belle époque marble statuary, it is anticipated that particular interest will be attracted by a Belgian art nouveau marble regulateur or long-case clock, which carries a £40,000 to £60,000 estimate. Attributed to the famous Symbolist sculptor, Egide Rombaux, this unusual clock is carved in bas-relief and features a figure of Atropos, one of Greek Mythology’s Three Fates.
A further attraction is a striking life-size female nude by Jacques de Braekeleer (estimated at £40,000 to £60,000) entitled ‘De Afwachting (The Expectation)’ and is thought to depict a woman waiting for her lover, a fisherman, to return from sea. Apart from the excitement generated by the 20 items assembled by one discerning private collector, The Opulent Eye incorporates the best in sculpture, furniture, porcelain and clocks from the 19th century and the 240 lots combined are expected to reach more than three million pounds.
Experts anticipate that the greatest interest will be reserved for a magnificent centre table by Charles-Guillaume Diehl, famousfor his néo-grec furniture. Diehl’s characteristically elegant pieces first attracted the attention of the public at the 1867 Paris Exposition Universelle and such is his reputation that this table is estimated at £100,000 to £200,000. Those who know little about the 19th century’s design trends will be struck by the amount of Japonais and Chinois style items. During this period every self-respecting European bourgeois family flirted madly with the Far East and was fascinated by anything that demonstrated the stylistic quirks associated with Japan and China.Altogether, this auction will be a major draw for 19th century aficionados and lovers of art history alike.