Boats at Camaret in Finistère by Jan Zrzavy, €245,000 (£211,205) at Besch Cannes Auction.

Image: Besch Cannes Auction

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Besch Cannes Auction (21.25% buyer’s premium) held its traditional summer offering in Cannes from August 13-16. 

Zrzavy (1890-1977) made frequent visits to France prior to 1939.

The three paintings offered in Cannes had an attractive provenance. They came from the collection of Prof Edouard Dolléans, given to him by the artist in thanks for letting him stay at his home in Paris in the 1930s, and had passed down by descent.

They generated international interest, including Czech bidders, at the auction.

A painting depicting the harbour of Camaret-sur-Mer in Finistère, Brittany, was the most expensive, selling for €245,000 (£211,205) against a guide of €25,000-30,000.

The 17¾ x 22in (45 x 56cm) work in detrempe (a form of tempera) is executed in a graphic style with a light translucent palette.

It is signed Zrzavy 32 lower right and inscribed CAMARET on the hull of a boat to the foreground.

Camaret was home to a small Czech community and the artist painted several views of the town.

This is a first version of this subject; a similar work is in the regional gallery Gask in Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic.


View of Venice by Jan Zrzavy, €105,000 (£90,515).

Image: Besch Cannes Auction

A 10½in x 14½in (27 x 37cm) signed and dated Venetian view from 1937 in tempera and ink with traces of pencil depicting the dome of the church of San Salvadore in the distance realised €105,000 (£90,515) against a €15,000-18,000 guide.


Virgin and Child by Jan Zrzavy, €115,000 (£99,140).

Image: Besch Cannes Auction

The third work was a 13¾ x 10½in (35 x 27cm) tempera on canvas of the Virgin and Child from 1930 that was given to Dolléans’ wife.

This was monogrammed, dated and inscribed à Madame Dolléans 1/1/30 JZ to the upper right and sold for €115,000 (£99,140) against an estimate of €10,000-15,000.

Rouault trio


George Rouault’s portrait of Aglaé, €85,000 (£73,275).

Image: Besch Cannes Auction

The sale featured three paintings by Georges Rouault (1871-1958) which had been kept in the artist’s family two of which found buyers.

The most expensive of these was his portrait of Aglaé. The 2ft 2in x 19in (66.5 x 48cm) oil on paper applied to canvas is part of a catalogue of paintings, some of which were used as designs for Aubusson tapestries.

It had featured in numerous exhibitions over the years and was offered with a certificate from the Rouault Foundation that would be given to the purchaser. At the Besch auction it realised €85,000 (£73,275) against a guide of €90,000-110,000.

Rouault’s 19½ x 12½in (50 x 32cm) Anouchka of 1929, in ink and pastel on paper applied to canvas, made €47,000 (£40,515) but his gouache Fille au grand chapeau was unsold.

Picasso pottery


Madoura pottery Taureau jug by Pablo Picasso, €96,000 (£82,760).

Image: Besch Cannes Auction

An example of Pablo Picasso’s pottery created during the course of a 24 year partnership with the Madoura workshop in the south of France also featured in the sale.

The 12in (31cm) high Taureau jug from 1955, in white faience with engobe decoration depicting a bull, is from an edition of only 100 examples. It has the seals Madoura Plein Feu and Edition Picasso and is inscribed Edition Picasso Madoura and numbered on the base 32/100.

The jug was purchased by the vendor directly from the Madoura Gallery and had never left the family until its appearance at the Besch auction where it made €96,000 (£82,760), just over the upper end of the €80,000-90,000 guide.

Csaky bronze

The French Modernist sculptor Joseph Csaky (1888-1971) was represented here by a 2ft 7in (80cm) black patinated bronze, Enfant or Composition Cubiste, a 1991 post mortem cast from the Blanchet foundry of an original model of 1920. Acquired from the Galerie Marcilhac in Paris, it realised €66,000 (£56,895).

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