XVII cent. Flemish paintings pulverise the low estimates in auction
On November 15 in Paris, Fabien Mirabaud and Claudia Mercier presented at auction a painting by Flemish painter Michael Sweerts (1618-1664), estimated between 400,000 and 600,000 euros. Showing "The Touching", painting had disappeared for half a century. “ Sweerts has painted several series of five paintings illustrating the senses, details the auction house. The four canvases which complete the Touch series are known by old photographs, but, except for The Odorate , bequeathed to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 1936, the other three had disappeared from public view and from that specialists, Le Toucher reappearing today.
Allowing man to grasp the world, the senses have inspired artists since the early Middle Ages and are traditionally associated with an animal, the senses of which are known to be more exacerbated. So Sweerts chooses the cat to symbolize infidelity, touch being in the 17th century associated with eroticism and lust. “ The Church considered the senses as vectors of sin and taught to be wary of it, the most dangerous being touch. The fool who bites his tongue expresses the madness of man when he lets himself go in the grip of the senses, attitude denounced by Erasmus in "In Praise of Folly", then a very popular work. "
Awarded at 663,520 euros (including costs), the painting, which will go to London, came from the illustrious collection of Jean Néger, a great Parisian merchant of old masters paintings , several works of which were dispersed during this sale, including another painting from the Flemish school. Carried out around 1630 by a follower of Anton Van Dyck, it pulverized its estimate, fixed between 12,000 and 15,000 euros, finding a taker at 70,180 euros (costs included).
On November 16 in Compiègne, it was again a painting from the Flemish school of the 17th century that created the surprise. Estimated between 5,000 and 6,000 euros, it was sold at 78,120 euros (including costs) by the auction house Actéon. As part of Paradise on Earth, it is attributed to a follower of Joachim Patinir (1480 / 85-1524).