A Sale So Nice, Lugt Recorded It Twice

Catalogue de Dessins, Gouaches et Aquarelles, des Ecoles d’Italie, des Pays-Bas, et de France. Bustes en Marbre, Bas-Reliefs en ivoire et en Terre-cuite, composant le Cabinet de feu Mr. Constantin. Par F. Sallé…et A. Constantin…Cette vente aura lieu dans la maison de Mr. Constantin, rue Saint-Lazare, no. 52, le lundi 3 mars 1817, et jours suivans…

1 p.l., iv, 106 pp. 8vo (196 x 122 mm.), 20th-century marbled boards, red morocco lettering-piece on spine. Paris: Constantin, Salle & Chariot; Amsterdam: Coclers; Antwerp: Beckmans; Brussels: Marneef; Mannheim: Armaaia; London: W. Woodburn, 1817.

A scarce sale catalogue, largely priced in a contemporary hand, describing drawings and sculptures from the cabinet of the important dealer Constantin (1755-1816). It also likely included his remaining stock. Constantin was one of the leading French vendors of drawings, starting in the 1790s until his death. His clients included Empress Joséphine and Johann Friedrich Städel, whose collection established the Städel Museum. Joséphine even named him as her personal curator of paintings, and he compiled the printed catalogue of pictures at Malmaison, published in 1811. Constantin specialized in contemporary art, and befriended artists like Prud’hon, Isabey, Gois, Wilhelm von Kobell, and Fleury Richard. Constantin’s son, Amédée was one of the experts for this sale, which continued until the 22nd of March.

The present catalogue describes 883 lots in total, about 850 of which are lots of drawings; this is a sale of exceptional size for the time. Many of the drawings are priced in pencil and ink in a single contemporary hand. We find the work of Albani, Canaletto, Luini, Maratti, Panini, Raphael, Spada, Tiepolo, Vasari, Titian, Bakhuizen, Berghem, Breenbergh, Dürer, van Goyen, Jordaens, Mengs, Porbus, Rembrandt, Teniers, Visscher, the Wouwerman brothers, Boucher, Cochin, the Coypels, Fragonard, Greuze, Lafosse, Vigée Lebrun, Natoire, G. & A. de Saint Aubin, Watteau, Wille, David, Isabey, Redouté, Swebach, C. & H. Vernet, etc., etc.

Fine copy. Engraved bookplate of [H]enry [Pannier] (1853-1935) on front paste-down, and stamp of the Bibliothèque Heim on verso of title.

❧ Lugt 9056 & 9075.

“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”–J. Jacoby, Guillaume Jean Constantin, 1755-1816: A Drawings Dealer in Paris, pp. 72 & 79-80.

Price: $2,500.00

Item ID: 6993