3 févr. 2008

A mediaeval Ivory of the Passion of Christ to be sold at auction by Christie's in Paris in March

One of the major lots from Gillot antiquities collection to be sold at Christie's in Paris on 4 and 5 March is an ivory carved diptych of the Passion of Christ.

This work comes a few months after the diptych of the Dormeuil collection, which had obtained 3.6 million € before fees in Paris at Sotheby's on Nov. 19. Both were most certainly made in the same Parisian workshop active between 1360 and 1380 known as "Workshop of the Master of the Passion Diptychs."

The comparison is to the advantage of Dormeuil diptych, more important since it has three registers overcome by six ogival arches (24.7 cm height, width in the open position 31.4 cm, thickness 1.2 cm), whereas the Gillot diptych has two registers overcome by five ogival arches. The dimensions of Gillot diptych is not indicated by the press release from Christie's, but the two works are similar in many ways, with a similar density of characters, and a ratio of dimensions of 2 / 3 between the two works is likely possible.

In terms of art, the price follows the dimensions on an exponential rather than linear formula, but the estimate of € 200 K given by Christie's (high estimate: € 300 K) seems low, especially since the quality of execution was the asset that had led the Dormeuil diptych to the price quoted above (purchased by the London market).

In its account of the Dormeuil sale, the Gazette de l'Hotel Drouot (2007, No. 42, pages 77 and 78) only reminds of a diptych from the collection von Hirsch that was not even from the same period as the two works that are the subject of this story. This proves that the ivories of the concerned Parisian workshop are extremely rare on the market, and I expect the Gillot diptych to get a bid to 7 digits at Christie's.

(SOLD 276 K€ including fees)