The prices being paid for important objects d'art are climbing inexorably higher.
1. GV Auction room interior, views of paintings on display 0.07
2. SV PAN Chest of drawers belonging to King Louis XVI carried into auction room 0.20
3. GV Auctioneer, aides on telephone, bidding in progress via telephones, cabinet finally sold for 15 million francs 2.35
4. CU Electronic board showing price and other auction details 2.38
5. GV PAN Spectators applauding, CU Chest of drawers 2.45
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Background: MONTE-CARLO, MONACO
The prices being paid for important objects d'art are climbing inexorably higher. On November 11, a unique chest of drawers once owned by King Louis XVI and apparently used by Marie-Antoinette to house her insect collection was sold at auction in Monte-Carlo for a world record furniture price of fifteen million French Francs (approximately 1,650,000 US dollars). The sale, held in Monte-Carlo Sporting d'Hiver's Salle des Arts (Hall of Arts), attracted individual collectors and museum curators alike, who also bid on a magnificent Fragonard canvas entitled "Le Songe du Mendiant" ("The Beggar's Vision"); this work fetched 8,500,00 French francs (approximately 932,000 US dollars), nearly three times the experts' estimate. Dating from 1788, the Louis Seize cabinet, crafted in mahogany and ebony and lavishy decorated on its top and all four sides, bears three stamped inscriptions by the famed maker G. Beneman. According to researchers, the cabinet stood in the Versailles apartments of King Louis XVI, where the child Mozart played the harpsichord to the astonishment of the assembled court. An electronic board, mounted above the auctioneer and his aides to display the prices offered, presented a stark contrast to the glorious rococo elegance of the cabinet and the Fragonard, both of which were sold to unidentified bidders.
Source: M. CINQUE