"The basket of wild strawberries", by Chardin, classified as a "national treasure" by the State

“The basket of wild strawberries”, by Chardin, classified as a “national treasure” by the State

Matthieu Fournier (on the left), auctioneer of the Artcurial auction house, and Eric Turquin (on the right, from behind), “Eric Turquin, director of the Turquin expertise firm, unveil, on January 20, 2022, a painting entitled

The amateurs hoped for it, the State finally decided. A month after it fetched a record sum at an auction in Paris, the Ministry of Culture has decided to grant the painting “national treasure” status. The basket of wild strawberries, considered one of the most important works of the painter Jean Siméon Chardin (1699-1779). This decision suspends the sale of the work and its possible departure abroad for a period of thirty months, the time for the State to raise the sum necessary for its acquisition.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Record auction expected for Chardin’s “Wild Strawberry Basket”

“An essential milestone in the history of still lifes in Western painting, this masterful work constitutes, through its modernity, an unparalleled link between the Dutch heritage transcended by Chardin and the precursor artistic movements of the end of the 19th century.and century and XXand century “, explains the office of the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot to justify its decision to refuse an export certificate to the canvas, which appeared for the first time at the Salon of 1761 and praised at the time by Diderot.

Property of the descendants of the collector François Marcille (1790-1856), who owned nearly 4,500 paintings, including thirty Chardin, forty Boucher and twenty-five Fragonard, the still life had been put up for sale by Artcurial, Wednesday March 23, and had reached the sum of 24.38 million euros (including costs) – world record for a French painting from the 18th centuryand century. It was the New York gallery owner Adam Williams who won the auction, without it being known for which client he had bought it. The names of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Getty in Los Angeles were mentioned in particular.

“Absolute masterpiece”

According to the Ministry of Culture, it was at the request of the Louvre Museum that The basket of wild strawberries has been classified as a “national treasure”. Even if it already owns forty-one paintings by Chardin, the institution, chaired by Laurence des Cars, considers it unthinkable that France should lose what specialists consider to be the artist’s most beautiful still life. “This basket of strawberries is a marvel and you don’t need to be a specialist to fall under its spell at first sight”, explain to World the president and director of the Louvre, for whom “This painting represents the quintessence of Chardin’s art and a pinnacle of 18th century French painting.and century “.

Laurence des Cars, President and Director of the Louvre: “This basket of strawberries is a marvel and you don’t need to be a specialist to fall under its spell at first sight”

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