French ‘lost’ grand master painting was on family’s living room wall

A painting that has been hanging almost unnoticed in the living room of a French family for decades has turned out to be a “lost” work, the value of which is now estimated at up to 2 million euros.

The work, which shows a “reading of the philosophers”, was confirmed as a painting by the master artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) from the 18th century. The work has been viewed as missing for more than 200 years.

The Enchères-Champagne auction house has confirmed that the work is worth between 1.5 and 2 million euros.

The painting has been dated from 1768 to 1770, when Fragonard distracted from his usual feminine painting style and subjects and instead created nine portraits on the subject of reading and literature.

The work was confirmed as a genuine Fragonard by specialist Le Cabinet Turquin after it was found by auctioneer Antoine Petit, who originally came to the apartment to take stock of his items for auction.

He noticed that the work seemed to have a barely visible signature that read “Fragonard”.

Art expert Stéphane Pinta said Nice Matin: “Despite the accumulated dust and yellowed varnish, the strength of his painting is still fully evident. The artist was at the height of his art.

“Freed from the extreme meticulousness of the Rococo style, his brushstrokes are quick, self-confident and very expressive.”

The job seems to be done quickly, and the paint seems “modeled, modeled; sometimes even with your finger, ”said Mr Pinta.

Away from the influence of his first teachers, Fragonard concentrated on older male subjects; in the same way as the Dutch painter Rembrandt.

Mr. Pinta said, “The subject of knowledge, the study of texts and the Bible are all subjects that Fragonard wanted to pay tribute to.”

Van Gogh of Montmartre sells for 11.25 million euros after the technical issue lowered the bids

It is a famous painting of Montmartre by Vincent Van Gogh – full name Scène de rue à Montmartre – which was sold at Sotheby’s for 11.25 million euros yesterday in Paris (25th March).

The work, which was largely kept as part of a French private collection, has been authenticated by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam as being from 1887.

The painting had hit a $ 14 million (pre-charge) bid earlier in the day, but computer problems forced the auction house to cancel that and resume sales. As a result of a bidding war between one buyer in Hong Kong and another in London, the final price rose to 11.25 million euros or a total of 13.091.250 euros including fees.

The auction also included works by Pissarro, Renoir, Picabia and Degas.

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