“The Basket of Wild Strawberries”, by Chardin, listed as a “national treasure” by the State

The fans were waiting for him, the State finally decided. A month after it fetched a record sum at auction in Paris, the Ministry of Culture decided to give 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, time for the State to collect the sum necessary for its acquisition.

Also read: 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, due to its modernity, an incomparable link between the Dutch heritage transcended by Chardin and the precursory artistic movements of the late nineteenth century.Y century and twentiethY century “, explains the office of Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot to justify her decision to deny an export certificate to the canvas, which first appeared at the 1761 Salon and was praised at the time by Diderot.

Owned by 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 on Wednesday, March 23, and had reached the sum of 24.38 million euros (expenses included) – world record for an 18th century French paintingY 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 It has been classified as a “national treasure”. Although it already has forty-one paintings by Chardin, the institution, chaired by Laurence des Cars, considers it unthinkable that France would lose what specialists consider to be the artist’s most beautiful still life. “This basket of strawberries is a marvel and you don’t have 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.Y century “.

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

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