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The firm felt the work’s success had been boosted by the illustrated advertisment placed in the Antiques Trade Gazette, No 1516 (p.90). Two farmyard scenes by poultry specialist Edgar Hunt (1876-1953), Poulets Pigeons and Poulets Poussins, did not receive such advance publicity, but nonetheless sold together for a quadruple-estimate BFr1.25m (£19,800).

Hippolyte Daeye’s small, sketchy, 1944 portrait of Lucienne, 18 by 14in (45 x 36cm), topped a quiet Ambères sale in Antwerp on December 17 with BFr420,000 (£6670) despite being unsigned and in poor condition.

Valerius de Saedeleer’s stark 1913 snowscape, Paysage avec Fermes sous la Neige, 20in x 2ft (50 x 60cm), headed the four-day, 1800-lot sale at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels over December 18–21 with BFr2.6m (£41,300), well clear of estimate.

Le Sidaner’s small, sketchy 1926 moonlit view of Les Petites Tables, panel 12 x 14in (30 x 36cm), proved less appealing
as it sold short of estimate for BFr780,000 (£12,400). A marble-topped Charles X mahogany gueridon by Ledoux-Lebard, with three part-gilded dolphin legs, emerged from a rather mundane furniture section with BFr340,000 (£5400), nearly twice low estimate.

Two paintings appeared at the 500-lot Horta sale in Brussels on December 10/11: Eugène Laermans’ 1918 Promenade Matinale, 4ft x 4ft 10in (1.21 x 1.48m), featuring a peasant couple in clogs pursued by a perky dog, at a top-estimate BFr1.15m (£18,300); and Jan Verhaas’ 1890 Enfant et ses Deux Anes à la Plage, 4ft x 2ft 10in (1.22m x 86cm), a boy with two donkeys on the beach, at a double-
estimate BFr1.3m (£20,600). Verhaas (1834-96), who studied in Antwerp and worked in Rome and Paris before settling in Brussels in 1867, is on a roll right now: his smaller panel En Pénitence, 2ft 5in x 20in (74 x 50cm), featuring a little girl sulking in a corner, doubled hopes with BFr750,000 (£11,900).

Other paintings here included two landscapes by Albert Saverijs – a snowbound Winterscape at Lathem-St-Martin, 2ft 11in x 3ft 3in (90cm x 1m), at BFr820,000 (£13,000), and a Bord de Lys Sunset, 3ft 3in x 3ft 7in (1 x 1.1m), at BFr650,000 (£10,300). Fernand Toussaint’s pensive white-clad brunette, Rêverie à la Fenêtre,
3ft x 2ft 4in (91 x 71cm), made BFr800,000 (£12,700); Veyrassat’s 1861 Chevaux de Halage en Bordure de Canal, panel 16in x 2ft 8in (40 x 80cm), BFr440,000 (£7000); and Albert Baertsoen’s sombre 1916 wharfside Vue du Port de Londres, 3ft 9in by 3ft 61/2in (1.14 x 1.08m), achieved
a double-estimate BFr240,000.

Embarquement du Voilier, a moonlit view of sailing ships leaving a sandy shore by Frank Wasley, 2ft 6in x 4ft 2in (77 x 1.28m), made a low estimate BFr75,000 (£1190) reflecting its grimy condition, but the painting could prove a useful investment.

Horta chief Jean-Pierre Julien said the sale provided a fitting conclusion to a “vintage year” for his firm, notably for 18th-20th century furniture and objets d’art – although these failed to make the running at the December sale, when a mahogany-veneered (“English Art Nouveau”) cabinet, 6ft 5in (1.95m) tall with stylised floral fruitwood marquetry, had to make do with a low-estimate BFr95,000 (£1500). Julien also emphasised the emergence during 2001 of new buyers aged under 40, whose presence he described as “essential” to counterbalance dealers, confirmed collectors and mere speculators.”

Furniture and works of art – specifically local 18th century silver and oak furniture – enjoyed a higher profile at Mosan in Liège on December 12–13. A large, carved Régence wardrobe – made, according to a painted inscription inside the door, for the Liège notary J.J. de la Croix in 1750 – sold above expectations for BFr670,000 (£10,600). A three-door Liège buffet tripled hopes on BFr460,000 (£7300)
and a two-door Louis XV Liège buffet sold beyond expectations for BFr400,000 (£6350). A 1776 Liège silver sauceboat, with silver-gilt interior and the crowned H hallmark thought to be used by Antoine-Sébastien Houtain, sold over top estimate for BFr240,000 (£3800), as Mosan concluded that, “professionals and collectors are still present to acquire quality pieces”.

A Scène Animée devant la Mosquée, an Orientalist work, 19in x 2ft 7in (49 x 82cm), by the Neapolitan artist Domenico Morelli (1823-1901), led the 500-lot sale with BFr1.6m (£25,400).

Paintings by Camille Barthélemy (1890-1961) surfaced in three different salerooms at Christmas, starting at Horta (Brussels) on December 10 with La Ruelle de l’Enfer à Meix-devant-Virton, 20in x 2ft (50 x 60cm), a 1953 view of steps leading up from industrial housing, with white smoke gushing from a chimney against a contrasting backdrop of green hills, that sold over top estimate for BFr660,000 (£10,500).

Barthélemy’s 1937 riverscape, Village de la Semois, 20in x 2ft 2in (50 x 66cm), was down on hopes with BFr340,000 (£5400) at Mosan (Liège) on December 13, but his 1930s Vue de Pont, a larger view of a town bridge in subdued tones of grey and brown, 2ft 8in x 2ft 2in (80 x 65cm), tripled its tepid estimate to earn BFr440,000 (£6980) at the Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels) on December 19.