Sotheby’s Paris to Auction Items Owned by Antiques Dealer Adriano Ribolzi

Sotheby’s Paris is to auction an Important Collection of Furniture & Works of Art owned by antiques dealer Adriano Ribolzi, on 30 November 2011. This refined and homogenous ensemble consists of a hundred works presenting a rich overview of late 17th and 18th century French creativity: cabinet-making, furniture, bronzes, carpets and precious textiles, along with scientific objects, are all represented by major works from the period. Throughout his career Adriano Ribolzi, a highly cultivated man with an in-depth knowledge of the art market, has rigorously selected works imbued with the characteristics sought by the world’s most demanding connoisseurs.

The criteria guiding my choices have always been perfect quality, aesthetic appeal and authenticity. I believe that the evocative nature of a work of art lies in the simultaneous perception of its timeless aesthetic value and the circumstances in which it was created, which help us appreciate its origins. Its beauty then assumes its true emotional dimension.’– Adriano Ribolzi

After studying art and specializing in interior design, Adriano Ribolzi became the first foreign antiques dealer to open a gallery in the Principality of Monaco, in 1974. He was pursuing a family tradition: his father opened his first gallery in Lugano back in 1920.

Adriano Ribolzi holds to the view that, whatever the period or field of art, it is quality and intrinsic value alone which matter. He has established a reputation as a refined connoisseur of works of art, which he selects with exemplary rigour and scholarship. His professional career has been studded with success: his first participation in the Florence Biennale, in 1971, saw him receive the city’s Gold Medal; for ten years he was a committee-member of the world’s leading antiques fair, TEFAF Maastricht – where he has exhibited for 18 years, and remains a member of the experts’ vetting commission. In 2007 he was made an Officer of the Order of St Charles by Prince Albert II, and in 2009 received the Monaco Medal of Cultural Merit from Princess Caroline of Hanover.

For over 50 years his eye, appreciation of works of art, technical skill and artistic knowledge have guided his choices, and these gifts have been constantly acknowledged by the international market. Although he has now decided to offer part of his collection for sale at Sotheby’s, Adriano Ribolzi continues to enrich his holdings of French 18th century furniture and Old Master paintings. Since 2009 has also added a new string to his bow: modern and contemporary art. In 2010 his gallery staged an exhibition of works by Raza, Husain and Souza, three of India’s leading contemporary artists; it was the first time their work had been shown in Monaco.

Perhaps the highlight of the collection is an important Régence brass, ebony and gilt-bronze marquetry bureau plat (c.1720), which illustrates a key moment in the evolution of taste and style. The bureau plat had been designed and introduced by A.C. Boulle a decade earlier; here we see a refined version that already announces the premises of the Louis XV style, while retaining Louis XIV marquetry motifs heightened in gilt-bronze in a way that is already typical of the Régence period (est. €300,000-500,000 / $412,000-687,000).

Another eagerly awaited piece is sure to be a Louis XVI ebony-veneered table with pewter and gilt-bronze inlay, stamped A. Weisweiler (est. €250,000-400,000 / $343,500-549,700). Such tables are typical of the Weisweiler pieces sold by Dominique Daguerre towards the end of Louis XVI’s reign, when the revival of taste for the antique was in full swing, with the more severe ‘Greek taste’, adopted a few years earlier, giving way to the ‘Arabesque’ or ‘Etruscan’ styles; the patinated bronze vase on the crosspiece reflects this perfectly. Two pairs of almost identical tables are to be found in the Nissim de Camondo Museum in Paris, and the Another eagerly awaited piece is sure to be a Louis XVI ebony-veneered table with pewter and gilt-bronze inlay, stamped A. Weisweiler (est. €250,000-400,000 / $343,500-549,700). Such tables are typical of the Weisweiler pieces sold by Dominique Daguerre towards the end of Louis XVI’s reign, when the revival of taste for the antique was in full swing, with the more severe ‘Greek taste’, adopted a few years earlier, giving way to the ‘Arabesque’ or ‘Etruscan’ styles; the patinated bronze vase on the crosspiece reflects this perfectly. Two pairs of almost identical tables are to be found in the Nissim de Camondo Museum in Paris, and the Wrightsman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Gilt-bronze items include a sumptuous pair of bronze Régence wall-lights with winged infants (c.1730), derived from a 1730s design by Gilles-Marie Oppenordt, engraved by Hucquier for the Livre de Différentes Décoration d’Appartements par G. M. Oppenordt Architecte. The elaborate design of these lights reflects the remarkable savoir-faire of Paris bronziers, and the supreme quality of their chasing and gilding (est. €40,000-60,000 / $55,000-82,500).

Equally refined is another pair of gilt-bronze Régence wall-lights, attributed to André-Charles Boulle, with two scrolling branches decorated with fruit and foliage (est. €50,000-80,000 / $68,700-110,000).

Masterful 18th century seating is also prominent. An extraordinarily creative Louis XVI sofa attributed to Louis Delanois reflects Delanois’ contribution to the renewal in classical taste (est. €50,000-80,000 / $68,700-110,000).

Then there are two armchairs by Georges Jacob (c.1780) with a most prestigious provenance: they were made for the Paris town-house of the Comte d’Artois at the Palais du Temple (est. €200,000-300,000 / $275,000-412,000).

Precious rugs and textiles, key components of early 18th century furnishings, are other features of the collection, led by a rare Louis XIV Savonnerie needlework carpet dating from 1650-60 (est. €300,000-500,000 / $412,000-687,000).

A superb ensemble of 17th and 18th century French and Italian bronzes headlines the sculpture and works of art.

An important pair of gilt-bronze candlesticks, after models by Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) representing Tritons holding horns of plenty (Rome c.1700), will delight connoisseurs of Italian Baroque (est. €200,000-400,000 / $275,000-550,000). The elaborate subject and composition, and the exceptional chasing and finish of these magnificent bronzes, recall the Fontane del Tritone on Piazza Barberini, and Bernini’s Neptune fountain on the Piazza Navona in Rome. The strongly marked, African-looking facial traits evoke those of Bernini’s famous Moor in the centre of the Fontano del Moro on Piazza Navona.

Sleeping Ariadne was already a popular subject in France during the Renaissance, although the Louis XIV bronze version to be offered by Sotheby’s dates from the start of the 18th century (est. €30,000-50,000 / $41,000-69,000). Similar figures can be seen in the Palace of Fontainebleau; the Belvedere Courtyard in Rome; the Villa Corsini near Florence (formerly at the Villa Medici in Rome); and the gardens of Versailles.

Other exquisite works of art include Venetian door-knockers with angels (c.1600) (est. €20,000-30,000 / $27,500-41,000), and a bronze bust of Louis XV by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, dated and marked with the crowned C (est. €40,000-60,000 / $55,000-82,500).

Given the close links between the arts and sciences throughout the 18th century, it is natural for the collection to contain a variety of scientific objects, such as a pair of Louis XVI celestial and terrestrial globes (est. €80,000-120,000 / $110,000-165,000) by François de Lalande (1732-1807) & Rigobert Bonne (1727-94); or an astonishing ensemble of 16 watercolour-drawings portraying scientific apparatus and physical instruments (est. €20,000-30,000 – $27,500-41,000) by P.C. de la Gardette (c.1745-81), once owned by Marie-Joseph d’Albert d’Ailly, 5th Duc de Chaulnes (1741-92).

Image: Pair of Gilt-Bronze Tritons – circle of Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), Rome, early 18th century. Estimate: €200,000-400,000 / $274,850-550,000. Sotheby’s

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Top