Marcille is a name synonymous with French Old Masters, a 19th century collecting dynasty begun by François Marcille (1790-1856) and continued by his sons Camille (1816-75) and Eudoxe (1814-90) who were curators at the Musée de Chartres and Musée d’Orleans respectively.
François was a prolific art enthusiast, amassing a collection of 4600 works, and the 27 lots consigned to this auction from a branch of the Marcille family reflect some of his artistic predilections.
Jean-Siméon Chardin (1699-1779) was a particular favourite. When the major retrospective on this artist was held at the Grand Palais in 1979 the Marcille family lent no fewer than 22 works, a considerable number for an artist whose oeuvre is not extensive.
They included his Femme à la Fontaine which is one of the sale’s highlights with an estimate of €5m-8m.
This 19¾ x 17in (50 x 43cm) signed oil on canvas is not one of Chardin’s still-lifes but his other speciality, a scene of everyday life depicting a woman filling a bucket from a water urn. It has been in the Marcille collection since at least 1848 and contributed to the rediscovery of the artist, ‘the French Vermeer’, in the mid 19th century.
A portrait of Charlotte de Talleyrand-Périgord at the age of seven is also offered. It is one of a 11-lot group of drawings by Pierre-Paul Prudhon (1758-1823) included in the sale. The 9¼ x 6½ in (23.5 x 16.5cm) signed portrait in black and white chalk on paper has an estimate of €25,000-35,000.
Among the other artists whose works are on offer in the sale are Hubert Robert, Théodore Géricault and Eugène Isabey. The sale takes place at Christie’s on November 22.