Record-setting Fine European Art Brings $1.3+ Million at Heritage Auctions

DALLAS - Le secret d’amour, a grand scale, turn-of-the-century work by French Academic painter Guillaume Seignac set a world record for the artist when it sold for $250,000 to the phone following feverish bidding in Heritage Auctions’ $1.3+ million Fine European Art auction in Dallas.

First exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1903, Seignac’s life-size composition features an enchanting nymph who fixes the viewer in a hypnotic gaze while a cherubic Cupid levitates beside her, whispering love’s secrets into her ear. The exceptionally fine draftsmanship and color harmonies in this painting earned the artist a Third Class medal at the Salon. Held in a private Dallas collection for the past 45 years, this masterwork, epitomizing the powerful influence of William Bouguereau on Seignac’s classicizing style and subject matter, sold for four times its pre-auction estimate. 

“This auction featured many artworks that have not been viewed outside private collections in decades,” said Ariana Hartsock, Consignment Director of European Art at Heritage. “Our strong results demonstrate the passion collectors have for fine examples by important artists, and we are pleased to have clients bidding in our auctions from all corners of the world.”

“Top works by notable nineteenth-century artists fared extremely well in the auction,” said Dr. Marianne Berardi, Senior Fine Art Expert for Heritage Auctions. “Another case in point is Barend Cornelis Koekkoek’s Winter landscape with wood gatherers and skaters, 1854 which sold to the phone for $225,000. The work is a brilliant combination of Koekkoek’s mastery of Dutch 17th-century conventions drawn from the likes of Cuyp, Ruisdael and Wynants, and the 19th-century penchant for intensely illuminated skies behind richly articulated natural forms. This work has been beautifully preserved right down to the finest touches of snow on the thinnest of tree branches.”

Barend Cornelis Koekkoek’s Winter landscape with wood gatherers and skaters, 1854 sold to the phone for $225,000. B.C. Koekkoek, regarded as the founding father of Dutch romantic landscape painting and the most celebrated landscapist of his time, painted this magnificent work in 1854 at the height of his career.

Au Musée du Louvre - les Murillo, 1912, an ambitious interior view of a woman copyist at the easel in the Louvre’s Murillo gallery by French artist Louis Béroud sold for $75,000 (more than twice its pre-auction estimate). A hotly-contested painting by French painter-illustrator Gustave Doré, entitled Lorraine of 1869, sold for an impressive $32,500 against an estimate of $6,000-8,000. Janell Snape, Junior Specialist for European Art at Heritage notes, “This large-scale work is one of two intensely nostalgic landscapes the artist painted of his homeland, Alsace-Lorraine. The related work, Alsace is in the permanent collection of the Museé d’Art moderne et contemporain, Strasbourg.”

Place de la Madeleine, circa 1967, a classic Parisian street scene by Edouard-Léon Cortès sold for $52,500.

Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:

Le compotier de pêches (Bowl of Peaches), circa 1889-90, by Édouard Vuillard: Realized: $50,000.00.

Le port de Paimpol, 1924, by Paul Signac: Realized: $45,000.00.

Venise - Vue de San Giorgio Maggiore, circa 1878-80, by Franz Richard Unterberger: Realized: $42,500.00.

Beloved site. A folk painting, by Mikhail Filipovich Ivanov: Realized: $40,000.00.

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales approaching $900 million, and 950,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to register and receive access to a complete record of our past prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

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