Female artists break Old Master records

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The collection of the French businessman Louis Grandchamp des Raux, which was sold through Sotheby’s, Paris, and Artcurial on 26 March, made €8.7m, the highest total for an auction in Paris of French Old Master paintings for more than 20 years. Auction records were set for three artists, two of them female: the top lot was Louyse Moillon’s Nature morte de pêches sur un plat d’étain, boîte de copeau (still life with peaches on a pewter charger, on a woodchip box) (1634), which sold for €1.1m (est €400,000-€600,000). Anne Vallayer-Coster’s Portrait d’une violoniste (1773) sold for €903,000. Moillon (1610-96) came from a family of strict Calvinist artists and established herself in the 1630s as one of the finest still-life painters in 17th-century France, before her marriage to a wealthy merchant cut short her professional career.

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