Death of a Gallerist Avant La Lettre

Catalogue des Tableaux des Trois Ecoles, composant le Cabinet et Fonds de Commerce de…rédigé par A. Pérignon…La Vente de ces Tableaux aura lieu en la Maison de M. Constantin…les Lundi 18 novembre 1816, et jours suivans…

96 pp. 8vo (190 x 128 mm.), cont. red sheep maroquiné, gilt coat-of-arms of Louis XVIII & ornate gilt borders on covers, flat spine gilt, a.e.g. Paris: Constantin, et al.; Amsterdam: Coclers; Antwerp: Beckmans; Brussels: Marneef; Mannheim: Artaria; London: Woodburn, 1816.

A splendid copy of this important and scarce auction catalogue, which describes the personal collection and stock of paintings of Constantin (1755-1816). With all prices and nearly all buyers in a contemporary hand, this catalogue is finely bound with the coat-of-arms of Louis XVIII and bears the bookplate of the Duchesse de Berry’s unparalleled Bibliothèque de Rosny. This was the first of three sales of Constantin’s collections: the second (Lugt 9056) offered drawings, and the third (Lugt 9087) was an auction of Constantin’s prints and library, both took place in March 1817.

“As a dealer (marchand) Constantin succeeded in attracting an extensive clientele, complementing his work as an assessor of auction and estate material (expert) with business activity encompassing purchases, re-purchases and exchanges, and the occasional publication of prints and books…Motivated by enthusiasm for contemporary art, Constantin based his business on support for living artists of his acquaintance and dealing in their works…In acting as an intermediary between producer and buyer, he would have been assuming avant la lettre the function of a gallerist, a recognized role within the art trade in the nineteenth century…

”Constantin’s lifespan coincided with one of the most radical upheavals in European history. Already established as a businessman under the ancien régime, the eighteenth-century France of an absolute monarchy, Constantin managed successfully to carry on his activities during the Revolution and the rapid sequence of very different regimes that followed”– Jacoby, pp. 72 & 79-80.

This catalogue describes 435 lots of paintings, the majority of which likely came from Constantin’s personal collection and his stock. The final lot briefly details a large number of pictures “en état de restauration.” The selection of pictures includes works by F. Albani, An. & L. Carracci, Ghirlandaio, Giorgione, Guido Reni, Panini, Salvator Rosa, Titian, Velázquez, da Vinci, Zurbarán, Asselijn, both Cuyps, Dürer, van Dyck, G. Hoet, Lairesse, Metsu, F. & I. Moucheron, I. van Ostade, Rubens, D. Teniers, Weenix, Wouwerman, S. Bourdon, Le Brun, Drolling, H. Fragonard, Lorrain, Vigée-Lebrun, both Le Nains, N. Poussin, J. Vernet, etc. Each painting is presented with measurements and a concise description.

The contemporary annotations in this volume reveal the attendance at this sale of important dealers and collectors such as Pérignon, Didot, Laneuville, Paillet, the deceased’s son Amédée Constantin, Delaroche, Roux, Isabey, Vigneron, Giroux, Delahante, etc.

A very fine copy of an important sale catalogue. Bookplates of G[eorges] P[annier] (1853-1944), the Parisian art dealer and collector of auction catalogues, and the Bibliothèque de Rosny. Stamp of the Bibliothèque Heim on verso of title.

❧ Lugt 8995. J. Jacoby, Guillaume Jean Constantin, 1755-1816: A Drawings Dealer in Paris (2018). See Lugt Marques (online resource) 3000.

Price: $3,500.00

Item ID: 6827