The sale of a rare terracotta sculpture by the 17th-century French artist François Anguier has been put on hold because the Louvre now wants to buy it. The Paris museum pre-empted a sculpture by Anguier which sold for €2.6m (with fees) on 18 June in a sale organised by the Osenat house in Versailles, setting an auction record for the artist.
The Louvre can pre-empt auction sales under French patrimony laws. “This means that a museum doesn’t intervene during the sale, but when the auction is over it ‘pre-empts, i.e. it buys the piece at the final price,” a Louvre spokeswoman says.
“François Anguier is one of the most famous sculptors who worked under the Regency of Anne of Austria at the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV. Like Jacques Sarrazin, he is considered the best sculptor of funerary monuments in Paris during the years 1640-1660”, the auction catalogue entry says, adding that the work comes from “a French private collection by descent”.
The terracotta model, a preparatory piece for the funerary monument of Jacques de Souvré (1600-1670), governor of Touraine, was estimated at €2m-€3m. Alexandre Lacroix, sculpture specialist at the company Lacroix Jeannest, told La Gazette Drouot: “Until the 18th century, the French preferred wax or wood to present models to their patrons, and it wasn’t until the 1730s that terracotta sculptures appeared at the Salon de l’Académie [royal academy].”