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Friday, March 27, 2009

250-year-old gossip

This Louis XVI bed caused quite a buzz at last week's European Fine Art Fair in the Netherlands. Created for one of the 18th century's most well-known courtesans, ballerina Marie-Madeleine Guimard, the highly-carved bed features the figures of Cupid and Terpsichore, the Greek muse of dance and dramatic chorus. That would be the pre-Revolutionary French gesture of "nudge nudge wink wink."

"It’s an appropriate theme for someone whose advancement occurred via dancing and love. This bed was the high altar of the temple of love," said the bed's seller Alan Rubin, owner of Pelham Galleries of Paris and London.

Guimard (1743-1816), the illegitimate daughter of a factory worker, began dancing at Comédie-Française in Paris at age 15 and enjoyed three decades of career success. Guimard's romantic conquests included a prince, the king's valet, and probably the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard who painted these two portraits of the dancer.


Rubin is asking $1.6 million for the bed and claims to have a client “with a serious interest.” As a gift with purchase (we're in a recession ya know), Rubin will include in the sale an 18th-century stone bust of Guimard by Gaetano Merchi.

[The New York Times]

8 comments:

nkp said...

..."gift with purchase," hee, hee such an honorable gesture and to think Clinique only gives you a tiny sample of sh*t they can't sell!

I wonder how much my bed will go for someday? Goodwill anyone? ;0)

Awesome Sara said...

whoa. i don't even know what to say. i was like well i dunno about the bed, but free gifty then i was wow, yea give me the tantric sex bed thing!

Raina said...

I found the whole thing a little weird. OK, sell the bed as a valuable antique but what would we think if Barishnikov's four-poster was auctioned off with its provenance of peccadilloes breathlessly detailed in the auction catalog? Gross.

sherri said...

she's blushing in the paintings. she defnitely did the painter.

sherri said...

p.s. just saw and so honored to be on your "daily clicks!"

Raina said...

Well, of course you are a Daily Click, Miz S!

And thanks for the belly laugh of the day with the previous comment.

hello gorgeous said...

ha! Sherri!

hmstrjam said...

I'll take the paintings!!