Offered in the March 28 sale in Market Harborough, the 15 x 18in (38 x 46cm) signed oil on canvas came from a private house clearance in Northampton – the same source that yielded the £125,000 Auguste Herbin’s Fauvist oil, Maisons au Quai Vert, Bruges.
It was acquired by a Mrs Blanco White in early 1958 from an exhibition held at Ernest Brown and Phillips’ Leicester Galleries in London.
St Tropez is believed to have been painted in the years following the Second World War, when Camoin made long visits to the south coast. It also corresponds with the artist’s free use of thin oil paint in a predominately blue palette, which he favoured during this period of his career.
The auction house confirmed its authenticity with Anne-Marie Grammont-Camoin, the artist’s daughter, and the picture will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by the Archive Camoin.
Against a £5000-8000 guide, it sold at £11,000 to a London gallery, which out bid several galleries across Continental Europe and the US.
Quatre petits voiliers dans le Port de Saint-Tropez (c.1947), another Camoin of the French coastal town in the same period and similar size, sold in March at Sotheby’s Paris for a premium-inclusive €25,000.
Elsewhere in the sale, a pair of Maltese harbour scenes by Joseph Schranz (1803-67) attracted strong interest and followed a string of recent saleroom successes for the Schranz clan. The 18 x 2ft 2in (45 x 67cm) oil on canvases were offered three weeks after Cheffins took £15,000 from a Maltese buyer for a similar work by a member of the Schranz family and Thomson Roddick achieved £20,000 for an Anton Schranz oil of Port Mahon in Minorca.
Both of Gildings oils depicted Valetta with a naval frigate floating in the bay. “They were consigned by a private family, direct descendants, multiple times removed of course, from the naval officer they were presumably commissioned for,” said Will Gilding, a director at the auction house.
Such pictures particularly appealed to the British naval officers and commanders stationed in Malta, who commissioned the Schranzes to paint their ships into panoramas of the Grand Harbour and brought them home as topographical souvenirs.
“[There was] plenty of interest from Maltese parties and indeed the buyer was a Maltese resident, who outbid stiff opposition from private UK-based clients, as well as other Maltese bidders,” said Gilding. They both sold for £16,000 against £7000-10,000 guides.