Seminar Collection: The collections of Auguste Bauchy, André Breton and Paul Éluard.
For the next session of the Seminar we welcome two speakers:
Marianne Le Morvan, Berthe Weill archives
Alice Ensabella, Grenoble Alpes University
18th May 2021, online on Zoom, 6.30-8pm (Paris Time)
Bust of Auguste Bauchy by Paco Durrio, dedicated “A mi amigo Auguste Paris 1894 Paco”, plaster, Bauchy family collection.
Marianne Le Morvan: Auguste Bauchy – the lemonade maker and collector
Auguste Bauchy (1858-1940) was the stealthy owner of the Café des Variétés, on the Grand Boulevards, where he offered an open table to his artist friends. If his name was previously associated with a murky affair of manipulation with Gauguin, and with a few paintings identified in the Van Gogh catalogue raisonné, the extent of his collection remained a mystery.
Bauchy was one of those pivotal players who made the transition from the 19th century to the modern school. However, nothing existed about him. The discovery of an important archive has changed all that, with the discovery of numerous photographs on glass plates showing the paintings that Bauchy had on his walls, and of an inventory countersigned by Gauguin that changes the understanding of what was previously known between the two protagonists. From a modest, opportunistic café owner, Bauchy’s stature evolved considerably into one of the greatest owners of Van Gogh and Gauguin’s paintings of his period, the one that preceded the surge in their market value.
Marianne Le Morvan is a doctor of art history, a curator, and the director and founder of the archives of the avant-garde gallery owner Berthe Weill. As a provenance researcher, she has traced the history of several prescriptive collectors.
Alice Ensabella : The collections of André Breton and Paul Éluard. The cradle of the Surrealist art market
With its position as an independent avant-garde, Surrealism, from its birth, also imposed itself autonomously on the market. Beyond the creation of a promotional model specific to the movement, the Surrealists showed themselves capable of inserting themselves into the institutions of the official market and skilfully exploiting its dynamics (which they knew well) and potential. The study of the network of exchanges that arose around the formation and dispersal of the collections of André Breton and Paul Éluard (the two most active collectors of the group) is the starting point of my thesis, which focuses on the development of the Surrealist art market in Paris during the 1920s. The collections of the two friends were composed of the works of several artists and of objects of different nature, including of course modern paintings and sculptures, but also books, found objects and, above all, important groups of objects and sculptures of primitive arts.
Through a general description of the genesis of these collections and the analysis of specific cases (André Breton’s work as advisor to Jacques Doucet, or the auction of the Eluard collection in July 1924), I will show how the two founders of the group were able to unite in their approach their aesthetic preferences and the promotion of the work of their artist friends. Thanks to the relationships established with the major protagonists of the Parisian market (the dealers – Paul Guillaume, Léonce Rosenberg -, the collectors – Jacques Doucet, Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles -, the auctioneers – Alphonse Bellier), Breton and Éluard were able to integrate the Surrealist artists into the commercial circuit of the time, anticipating the action of gallery owners such as Pierre Loeb or Jeanne Bucher, who were involved with the movement only later.
Alice Ensabella is an ATER in History of Contemporary Art at the University of Grenoble Alpes. She defended her thesis in 2017 on the creation and development of the art market around the Surrealist movement in Paris during the 1920s. Her research focuses on the dynamics of the interwar art market in France and the United States, the results of which are published in several journals and exhibition catalogues. As an independent curator, she recently curated the exhibitions De Chirico e Savinio. Una mitologia moderna (Fondazione Magnani-Rocca, 2019) and Giorgio Morandi. La collection Magnani-Rocca (Musée de Grenoble, 2021). She has been a fellow of the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York (2018) and of the Arp Foundation in Berlin (2021). Since 2012 she has collaborated with the Archivio dell’Arte Metafisica in Milan and the Fondazione Magnani Rocca in Parma.
The conference, in French and free of charge, will take place on Zoom. Please make sure you register in advance, in order to receive the necessary information, at this address:

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