Westport House sculpture on the way to Canada

‘Boulonnaise allaitant son enfant,’ a life-size terracotta sculpture of a mother feeding her child, by Aimé-Jules Dalou sold at Sotheby’s for  €445,332 – a world record price at auction for the artist

‘Boulonnaise allaitant son enfant,’ a life-size terracotta sculpture of a mother feeding her child, by Aimé-Jules Dalou sold at Sotheby’s for €445,332 – a world record price at auction for the artist

Sat, May 24, 2014, 02:00

The National Gallery of Canada has bought a French sculpture which adorned Westport House, Co Mayo for over a century. Sotheby’s in London said a gallery in Ottawa was the buyer of Boulonnaise allaitant son enfant, a life-size terracotta sculpture of a mother feeding her child. The price achieved in Wednesday’s auction, £362,500 (€445,332) was within the estimate of £300,000- £500,000 and set a world record price at auction for the artist, Aimé-Jules Dalou.

It was consigned by the owner of Westport House, Jeremy Browne, 11th Marquess of Sligo, to raise funds for the upkeep of the stately home which overlooks Clew Bay. The sculpture was bought in 1876, from the artist, by his ancestor the third Marquess of Sligo. Sotheby’s said Dalou (1838-1902) was “one of the greatest French sculptors of the 19th century”.

Also at Sotheby’s, Life Class on the Beach by Sir William Orpen, dated 1910, depicting a group of art students on a summer’s day at Portmarnock, sold for £170,500 (€210,500) well above the top estimate of £120,000 (€148,150). However, the artist’s Portrait of Mrs Oscar Lewisohn; formerly Miss Edna May, which attracted considerable attention when it was on view in Dublin earlier this month, failed to sell. See sothebys.com

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