Friday, 11 December 2009

End of Round One ... jd

11 December 2009 – First a return to the Morlaix auction last Sunday ... some of the Savigny babies are still orphans, but the Jean-Haffen menhir and dolmen have found a home (gavel price 120 euros). Of particular note: most of the religious statues went seriously higher than their estimations, and I would guess that this is due to Antoine Maigné's recent book, which takes up the subject where Laurent Cahn left off – it is a very well-done documentation of Quimper religious figures.

This handsome Saint Corentin, the patron saint of Quimper, with a fish at his feet, was estimated at 150-200 euros; the gavel price was 550 euros.

Monday's auction was at Adjug'Art in Brest. There were a few pieces from the Villas Moulin Rouge and Duguay Trouin services, the last of the collection, apparently. Even though most needed some restoration work, their prices held.

There were two plaster models, used to make molds, by artist Charles Homualk, whose work is very rarely seen.

There was also this exceptional statue of a woman from Langueux by Louis Nicot, manufactured at Boulogne sur Mer, marked in the clay on the bottom "J'ai retouché moi-même cette épreuve. Louis H.NICOT" ("I myself touched up this artist's proof.") The face and hands are unglazed biscuit.

In the morning during the exhibit, France 3, one of France's public TV channels, paid a visit, and the cameramen were there that afternoon. According to auctioneer Yves Cosquéric, they were working on a long-term story about Breton costumes – apparently it will be aired next summer.

So that was three auctions in a week! Things have calmed down, but on Saturday, December 19, there will be three auctions the same day – that should be interesting. The auction at Thierry-Lannon in Brest is an art auction, including an impressive collection representing the Ecole Bretonne. It's worth looking at the photos, if only to see the work of Mathurin Méheut, Pierre de Belay (who was Berthe Savigny's brother), and - one of my favorites – Jean-Julien LeMordant.

In Quimper, there will be two auctions: the Hôtel des Ventes Bretagne Atlantique, whose photos are on line here, and Quimper Enchères, whose photos will be available shortly (I'll let you know).

In the meantime, we are starting to think about Christmas! The first Christmas season I spent in Quimper was in 1992. Around December 20, the city put up a few decorations – it was a little lame by my standards. So the next time I was in the States in the fall, I bought strings of little white lights at Walmart's. At the time, I lived in the center of Quimper right on the river, up one flight, and there were four sets of French windows that faced the street – the ceilings were 12+ feet high, so it was an impressive set of windows. I had bought enough lights to outline all the windows, and one evening in early December, I put them up. I plugged them in with my cheap adaptor and went down to the street to see what it looked like. It was impressive, and cars going by slowed down to take a look. Then all of a sudden, the lights got twice as bright, which I didn't think was a good sign, and indeed, when I rushed back upstairs, things were overheating. My cheap adaptor was not up to the task, so my electrician got a transformer for me - $15 for the lights, and a $100 transformer to keep the building from burning down, but it was worth it!

Today, we're on a decorating schedule about like the most places in the States – too early! However, in early December, the city of Quimper installs a skating rink in the square between the cathedral and city hall, and a festive ambiance begins to take hold in town. This weekend, there are Christmas markets everywhere, from local flea markets that bill themselves as Christmas sales, to art centers, to small-town happenings, like in my small town. I'll tell you more about it on Sunday, but in the meantime, you can check out the Christmas game that our local group of retailers (of which I am one) is sponsoring – which child is me??


  1. Great post Judy, I'm off to see if I can find you!

  2. Most interesting Judy! Thank you for keeping us informed.
    Have a great week end.

    Akk best,

  3. Judy, thanks for another auction update and interesting information. I've been busy the past week decorating around the house. Finally finished. Now I need to spend some time cleaning out all the plants that suffered last week when the temps dipped into the low 20s.
    I guess #1. If that isn't you, then this person has your eyes. Hope to talk to you soon....Sarah

  4. Judy, I am with Maggie and Sarah, I guess #1.

  5. I too, am guessing No. 1..but 13 is a child that I could see as you, too.
    I LOVED your story of the Christmas lights! I can imagine how beautiful they looked on those tall French windows, and how scary to realize you may be in danger of starting a fire! Yikes!
    I think you started a whole new tradition for Quimper. Salut!

  6. I have so enjoyed seeing the auction items. So many unique and wonderful items. Thank you so much for showing us. laurie