A double-sided oil on panel painting by Grégoire Guérard depicting St Catherine of Alexandria was the highlight of the sale of paintings, drawings, furniture and works of art at Rossini (23% buyer’s premium) in Paris on November 26.
Guérard was a Dutch artist active in the Champagne and Burgundy regions in the first half of the 16th century under the reign of François I.
His identity has emerged only very recently through the efforts of a group of researchers led by Frédéric Elsig.
A corpus of paintings that had been linked under the generic name of ‘The Master of the Autun triptych’ was given a firm identity in 2005 when an archival contract emerged that linked one of these works to Guérard by name. Subsequent details of the artist’s biography have been pieced together, resulting in the attribution of 42 paintings and stained glass windows to his hand.
Rossini’s painting, which measures 3ft x 21in (91 x 55cm), shows St Catherine of Alexandria to one side identified by the inscription KATHERINA VIRGINUS set in a halo around her head and her saint’s attribute of a wheel. To the lower left is the coat of arms of Vienne – Dinteville family of Burgundy. To the reverse side is a painting en grisaille of St Christopher carrying the infant Jesus. Elsig has observed that this arrangement “obviously constitutes the right side of a triptych, the other elements of which are unknown to us to this day”.
Rossini offered the panel with an estimate of €60,000-80,000 and on the day it was bid to €105,000 (£95,455). The painting will be returning to its Burgundian roots as it was pre-empted by the Musée des Beaux Arts in Dijon and will now join its collections.
School of Salviati
Among the other notable results were several lots that substantially exceeded their modest three-figure estimates.
These included a drawing in black chalk, pen and ink and wash with white highlights of a recumbent figure holding a book.
The 8 x 10in (20 x 26cm) study inscribed lower right F Salviati was catalogued as school of Francesco Salviati (1510-63) with a modest estimate of €600-800, but ended up selling for €19,700 (£17,910).
Much keener competition than predicted came for a 14 x 12in (36 x 32cm) oil on relined canvas – a study of the head of woman with her mouth slightly open. This was catalogued as ‘French school first half of the 19th century’ with a €300-400 estimate but more than one bidder evidently rated the work, as it ended up selling for €25,000 (£22,730).
£1 = €1.10