While I didn’t find the time to write about last week Ader-Nordman Islamic art auction, I figured I had to right my wrong by presenting the next one, at least briefly. It is the last auction before summer break and I find its focus particularly interesting.
Islamic art can be a scary thing for the new comer. After all, we are talking about forms of expression on all imaginable medium, since the 6th century to this day, from Spain to the Philippines. The aesthetic value of objects, paintings and manuscripts produced in Islamic lands can attract new buyers but hight estimations, especially in London auctions, can also cool down a lot bourgeoning passions.
For this reason, the next Millon et Associés auction constitutes a tremendous opportunity for new collectors to get involved. Lots rarely exceed 1500€ and show a variety that allow everybody to find their affordable treasure. I will just present a few here but feel free to contact me for more information on others.
I always have a weakness for Orientalist landscapes and outside scenes, maybe because of my Southern origins, but I’m always impress with the painters’ ability to capture the Mediterranean bright light blue sky depth. For this reason, a few paintings caught my eyes, including a view of the Oued of el-Kantara signed Alphonse Brick (1859-1942) for 500-700€, a view of Constantine dated 1902 by Alexis-Auguste Delahogue (1857-1963) for 500-700€ and a very peaceful landscape at sunset by Hasam Saim estimated 300-400€.
Reading through the catalogue, I was really impressed by the quality of several of the items presented. Temptation is high to talk about all of them but I am simply going to encourage you to go on Millon et Associés’s website. My eyes stopped on a few in particular and if I were in Paris on Friday, you would definitely find me with at Drouot raising my hand to bid !
I mean, look at this attractive depiction of Iskandar fighting the Dragon from Nezami Khamsa (500/700€). This isolated page was most probably produced in Shiraz as what we call the “commercial production”. This terminology doesn’t really mean anything but refers to a range of anonymous illustrated manuscripts, mostly datable from the 16th century (this page is slightly later) and displaying a range of quality from “not good” to “okay”. These are not scientific terms, please do not reproduce this at home! This painting is “pretty nice” despite being slightly damaged. The scene is depicted in a common way, with Iskandar bitting his index to signify his surprise while the archers do all the work fighting the dragon.
Also produced under Safavid rule, this attractive Qur’an of 19 x 11.5cm, copied in 1105 H./1693 by Reza b. Kasem al-Husseini al-Djilani (1500/2000€). The naskh script is harmonious, as well as the golden sura heads in ruqqa’. The manuscript has been slightly damaged but most of the illuminated double frontispiece and the rest of the pages are still in good condition.
I always find Qajar ceramic a bit risky. There are, of course, many beautiful examples of this late production, but we also see in auctions mediocre pieces that are nothing more than a failed imitation of Safavid figurative representation. What a nice surprise then to see in this auction nice Qajar lots: first, a vase of 22cm figuring two musicians and a decor of vegetal motives. The design is regular and the colors have held the firing, including the interesting shadow work on the neck. This vase is estimated 200/300€. The second lot is a pair of Qajar vases, one decorated with a wine-bearer figure, the other one animals, both covered in floral designs. The overall decoration imitates Safavid ceramics and figurative representation, nevertheless the line is harmonious despite the pigments having ran during baking. Estimation is 400/600€ for the two.
This short selection doesn’t completely reflect the variety of the catalogue but gives you a brief overview of its quality. It will be interesting to see what is being sold and for how much. I expect a few surprises, for example with this carved lintel from North Africa, reading Al-yumn wal-iqbâl wa boulough al amâl wa jami’ al-ahwâ in an elegant Maghribi script, only estimated 120/150€. Absolutely perfect to decorate an interior!