“Charles Le Brun”

Masterpiece found at Ritz sold to Met in New York

Paris, 22 April 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). A masterpiece dating from 400 years ago was found at the Ritz during the renovation of the famous Parisian hotel. On Monday 15 April 2013, the work was sold to the Metropolitan Museum in New York for €1.44m, according to Christie’s. The painting was produced by 17th century artist Charles Le Brun (1619-1690). The work was located at the suite occupied by Coco Chanel for over 30 years. It was found by expert Oliver Lefeuvre in July 2012. According to him, the Met in New York did not possess any work by Charles Le Brun and with this acquisition it will complete its 17th century art collection. The painting will be exhibited at the end of May 2013. The sale’s proceeds will be handed over to the foundation created by the owner of the Ritz, Mohamed Al Fayed, commemorating his son Dodi, the last partner of Princess Diana. The oil painting is identified by experts as a work produced at the beginning of the artist’s career before he became Louis XIV court’s painter and gained the reputation of a major figure of the 17th century artistic scene. The work depicts Polyxena’s asassination, a Troyan princess who was involved in the Achilles...

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New record for Charles Le Brun at Christie’s

Paris, 16 April 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). The selection of Old Masters and Nineteenth-Century paintings presented at auction on 15 April 2013 achieved a total of €5,117,200 with a solid 84% in value. The Sacrifice of Polyxena (1647) by Charles Le Brun was sold for the price of €1,441,500. This painting had been sleeping for many years in Coco Chanel’s Ritz suite and was rediscovered in June thanks to artistic advisors John Friedman and Wanda Tymowska. Among other lots, the seventeenth-century was well represented by: Noah’s Ark by Jan Brueghel the Younger, from the collection of Madame Denise Levy, sold for €481,500; Portrait of the Davene de Fontaine Family, by François de Troy, sold for €577,500. Two other records were set: The Music Lesson by Martin Drolling went for € 169,500 and an oil on canvas by Jean-Louis François Lagrenée: Wisdom of Scipio for the Hergètes Women, and Continence of Scipio reached a record price of €313,500. The nineteenth-century was also honoured with the work of Gustave Moreau called Leda, the Swan and Love sold for €229,500. Finally, Portrait Officer, made by an artist of the Flemish school, was a surprise by reaching the sum of €157,500, far exceeding its initial estimate of €10,000 to...

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“Sometimes the greatest discoveries are hidden in plain view”. Interview with Joseph Friedman regarding the discovery of Le Brun painting at Hôtel Ritz, Paris

Paris, 25 January 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). Art Media Agency previously wrote about the most valuable painting by 17th Century French painter Le Brun that was discovered by chance at the Hôtel Ritz, Paris, and is to be offered on sale by Christie’s auction house on 15 April 2013. As a fine-art consultant, Mr Joseph Friedman plays a major role in the renovation of the iconic hotel – a position which led him and a group of experts to perform the astounding discovery. AMA had the pleasure of hearing about the eventful finding from Mr Friedman himself right before he caught a flight to New York, in order to present the artwork at an exceptional preview to be held at Christie’s this weekend. Art Media Agency (AMA): What role do you play in the renovation of the Hôtel Ritz as a fine-art consultant? Joseph Friedman (J.F.): My task is two-fold, first to catalogue the hotel’s collection of historical artifacts and archives, and second to advise on the acquisition of additional works of art, furniture, and objects that will enhance the existing collection prior to the re-opening in 2014 AMA: Who commissioned the inventory of the hotel’s furniture? J.F.: I was appointed by the owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, for whom I worked as Curator of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s residence in Paris and whom I have advised for some years. AMA: When had the last inventory been requested before this one began? J.F.: My task is not to produce a complete inventory of the hotel, but to catalogue the more important contents. Previous inventories did not have this specific focus. AMA: How did the discovery of the Le Brun painting occur? Although you recognised Le Brun’s style very quickly, how did you overcome the astounding incongruity of...

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Charles Le Brun to leave the Coco Chanel suite

Paris, 23 January 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). A painting by Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) was discovered at the Ritz, in the Coco Chanel suite, and will be put on sale at Christie’s this April. The presence of this exceptional work, displayed in the  drawing room of the Coco Chanel suite, was undisclosed until a stocktaking of the Ritz’s holdings. For Jospeh Friedman, artistic consultant at the Ritz, it is unbelievable such a masterpiece could have escaped the staff’s vigilance. His first impression was right, for when he first beheld the painting on occasion of the stocktaking, he was struck and immediately thought of the works of Nicolas Poussin – whose works were occasionally imitated by Le Brun and inspired him. The label CLBF (Charles Le Brun Fecit) and the date (1647) written on the back of the painting leave no doubt for its attribution. The Sacrifice of Polyxena is estimated between €300,000 and €500,000. The painting depicts a famous episode of the Trojan war recalled by Ovid: Polyxena, daughter of Priam and Hecuba, is about to be sacrificed at the foot of Achilles’ grave. Mohamed Al Fayed, owner of the Ritz Hotel, deems the painting worthy to be displayed in a museum. The work will therefore be shown at Christie’s New York from 26 to 29 January, on occasion of the upcoming ancient painting auction to be held on 30 and 31...

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“Poussin et Moïse” at Galerie des Gobelins

Paris, 1 August 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). From 22 May through 16 December 2012, the Galerie des Gobelins in Paris is showing “Poussin et Moїse, histoires tissées” (“Poussin and Moses, woven stories”), an exhibition showcasing the tapestry La Tenture de Moїse and eight paintings by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) and two by Charles Le Brun (1619-1690). Created in the historic Manufacture des Gobelins, the entire La Tenture de Moїse has been made available for public viewing for the first time since it was originally woven, around 1683-1685. The Moses theme was at the heart of Nicolas Poussin’s work. He created 19 paintings between 1625 and 1641. Thanks to a loan by the Louvre Museum in Paris, the creation of the paintings and tapestries is documented by other loaned works signed by the artist. Despite the fact that Poussin was a painter largely opposed to decoration, the exhibition allows viewers to compare the tapestries with their sources of inspiration and examine an artist’s transition from painting to...

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