'Femme à la Fontaine' by Jean-Siméon Chardin, estimated at €5m-8m at the Christie's/Tajan sale.

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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.


Charlotte de Talleyrand-Périgord at the age of seven by Pierre-Paul Prudhon (1758-1823), estimated at €25,000-35,000 at the Christie's/Tajan sale.

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.