The French painter of still lifes Anne Vallayer Costerthe second woman ever admitted to the Royal Academy of France (or Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture), broke its auction record with a €2.58 million ($2.8 million) sale at Christie’s Paris of a rediscovered masterpiece last exhibited in 1783.

The painting, titled Still life with an alabaster vase filled with flowers with several species of fruit on a table, such as pineapples, peaches and grapeshas been identified as the artist’s submission to the Paris Salon of that year, a painting of a vase of flowers with a pineapple that had long been assumed to be lost.

“We knew the painting existed, but it had completely disappeared,” Pierre Etienne, Christie’s International Director and Vice President of Old Master Paintings, told Artnet News. “What’s absolutely exceptional about this picture is the story.”

After the death of Vallayer-Coster in 1818 and of her husband in 1824, their heirs organized an auction of their collection. Still life was batch number one.

Alexandre Roslin, Portrait of Anne Vallayer-Coster (1783).  Collection of the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, gift of Alan Templeton.

Alexander Roslin, Portrait of Anne Vallayer Coster (1783). Collection of the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, gift of Alan Templeton.

“The specialist described the painting as the best painting Vallayer-Coster painted in her career and said she always refused to sell the painting to clients despite having had several opportunities to do so,” said said Etienne.

The painting was sold to one of her husband’s family members and disappeared for almost 200 years. Then last year came the phone call. There was a family in northeastern France with a painting by Vallayer-Coster that they knew very little about. Would Christie’s take a look?

It turned out that the current owner’s father had bought the work from the Coster family in the 1940s. It was still in its original frame from the 1783 Salon, and in remarkable, near-pristine condition.

“It was a real surprise. It was the reappearance of a 19th century painting, exactly as it was at the time,” explains Etienne. He immediately recognized the importance of the rediscovery and its commercial potential. : “I knew that a photo of this could break the world record.”

But the family were thrilled even with the prospect of a sale at the low end of the estimate, at €600,000 ($641,711), let alone potentially reaching €1 million ($1.06 million). The terribly low estimate, which followed three successful sales during Old Masters Week at Sotheby’s New York last January – proved enticing, sparking a five-way bidding war that drove up the hammer price.

Anne Vallayer-Coster, Still Life of Flowers in a Vase on a Table Beside a Bust of Flora, with Fruit and Other Objects with a Curtain Beyond (1774).  Courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Anne Vallayer Coster, Still life of flowers in a vase on a table next to a bust of Flora, with fruit and other objects with a curtain beyond (1774). Courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

With fees, the final total was 158% higher than the pre-sale high estimate. The sale was first reported on Instagram by The history of art.

The artist’s previous peak at auction, according to the Artnet Price Databasewas $1.84 million, set in January 2022 with the sale of its Still life of flowers in a vase on a table next to a bust of Flora, with fruit and other objects with a curtain beyond at Sotheby’s New York.

Etienne declined to share details of the winning bidder at last week’s sale, except to say “this is a painting that may reappear and may be seen in years to come”, and that the buyer was not European.

Although Vallayer-Coster’s work regularly appears at auction, other paintings will struggle to match his new auction record, Etienne said. “A painting of this size, this history and this importance in the artist’s career? This will not happen again.

More trending stories:

Brooklyn Museum’s much-criticized ‘It’s Pablo-matic’ exhibition is actually oddly at war with itself over Hannah Gadsby’s art history

Writer calls out British Museum for using her translations of Chinese poetry in exhibition without permission

Beeple Collector Metakovan is suing Twobadour, claiming his ex-partner wrongly takes credit for buying the $69 million NFT

Caesar’s assassination site in Rome, until recently visited only by a colony of stray cats, is now also open to human tourists

Anna Delvey’s New Hustle is a podcast of lively conversations with artists, writers and other fraudsters – and it might be illegal

This famous dollhouse is adorned with tiny original artwork, including a miniature by Duchamp. Here are three things to know about the one-of-a-kind treasure

A Rubens painting lost for 300 years and misidentified at its last auction will be the star of the next Sotheby’s sale in London

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay one step ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive breaking news, revealing interviews and incisive reviews that move the conversation forward.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

@2022 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by artworlddaily