Friday, 18 December 2009

Last Auctions for This Year ... jd

18 December 2009 – And there are three auctions tomorrow!! Two are in Quimper, and they include important lots of pottery, and the third is an art auction in Brest. The two auction houses in Quimper have been considerate of the buyers – the Hôtel des Ventes Bretagne Atlantique is offering the pottery at the beginning, whereas Quimper Enchères is selling pottery about four hours into the sale. And if you have a helicopter, you could pop up to Brest in between the two and buy a painting!!

As Quimper pottery auctions go, the ones this season have had moderate amounts of pottery to sell. That leaves more time (and maybe money!) to look at (and maybe buy!) other things.

This covered bouillon is listed as a bonbonnière, but I think it really is just a covered bowl. However, it is one that I would like to own, because it is a piece by Suzanne Creston (of the Seiz Breur - the Breton art renaissance movement, post WWI). She uses a very particular tone of blue that I find appealing, and her designs are geometric. However, the Seiz Breur pieces usually go way over my budget ...

So where is this large and heavy unsigned platter from? The auction house thinks it is Quimper, probably because of the flower decor, but I'm not familiar with this form in Quimper pottery, and this use of black would certainly not be typical.

How about this Géo Martel bird inkwell?? Even with the lid missing, he's pretty cute.

Charles Maillard did other things besides pottery, and this bird (peacock?eagle?) letter opener in bronze from about 1925 is an impressive piece. It's also very heavy and could certainly feature in a detective fiction story as THE weapon.

There is a collection of samplers for sale (called "abécédaires" in French). They are very charming, indeed! Even though it's not the most highly worked piece of the group, I like the one that has sample stitches set into the piece of needlework.

There is often wine and other alcohol for sale at auctions. (The Tour d'Argent in Paris just sold 18,000 bottles from their stock, but that's an exceptional sale.) Of course you can't taste, and you don't know what the storage conditions have been, so it's an adventure to buy bottles. Several years ago, Marcel came home from an auction of a restaurant's stock with a number of bottles of wine and two mystery bottles. One was home-made apple brandy, more than 35 years old. We decanted it for Christmas that year, and it was fabulous – we made it last for almost a year. The other bottle was a banana liqueur, which certainly doesn't appeal to me, but when we finally opened it, we discovered that all of its banana qualities had disappeared, and we were left with sort of a caramel liqueur – it was good for at least five minutes of conversation at several dinner parties, but now I'd like to finish it to free up the decanter! Tomorrow's bottles are all covered with dust, and they include some rather old red wines, including some of the great Bordeaux, and a whole lot of sweet liqueurs, which I am happy to say don't tempt me at all. In any case, it will probably be 9pm before they get to the wine, and that's way past my bedtime!

And here is the show-stopper of the weekend, in my opinion. This couch came from a DESIGN furniture show in Milan in 1981, and it would look really terrific in your country manor ...


  1. OH, dear..I feel sad about that calf couch, but then, I do eat beef. 'Loved the bird inkwell..I would have bid on that. Judy, try that banana brandy over vanilla ice cream. Should be great! Thanks for keeping the interesting news coming. Have been watching the snow in Paris, and today my French 'daughter' in Plaisance sent a photo of snow even there in the Gers!

  2. Judy, I wish I were there to see the samplers. These look to be wonderful. Are you going to bid? Have a great time! Thanks for sharing all these interesting photos. I don't think I could live with the calf couch. LOL
    Hugs ~ Sarah

  3. Hi Judy,

    Another interesting post, thank you for taking us to these auctions.