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Neoclassical furniture at auction in Copenhagen

Press Release   •   Feb 23, 2016 10:24 GMT

A set of five Italian Louis XVI giltwood and polycrome decorated mirrors. Late 18th century. Estimate: DKK 250,000 / € 33,500

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is focusing on neoclassicism, one of the most recurrent styles in world history as expressed in several of the pieces featured in the upcoming auction at Bredgade in Copenhagen. The preview opens on Thursday 25th February and the auction of antiques takes place on Wednesday 2 March.

The classic, aesthetic ideals of harmony, clarity and clean lines of antiquity have over the centuries been the subject of many interpretations and given their name to one of the most popular styles known today as classicism or neoclassicism. A stylistic mode of expression that still appeals to us today due to its simple forms and fine craftsmanship.

The style possesses an aura of originality and purity, but is, in practice, affected by the changing times and local interpretations. Today, the term classicism is, however, often synonymous with neoclassicism – a style that replaced Rococo in the late 18th century and continued until the mid-19th century.

Louis XVI and Empire

Several neoclassical pieces are set to go under the hammer at the upcoming international auction. Each of them represents different interpretations of the classical idiom, however, with a predominance of French, Italian and Swedish pieces inspired by Louis XVI and the Empire style.

Both are simple and symmetrical, as can be seen in the ornamentation, among other things. Some of the furniture is inspired by the visual expression discovered during the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 1760, where flowering vines, medallions, garlands, palmettes and borders were prevalent motifs.

Auction highlights

Among the auction highlights are a set of five Italian Louis XVI mirrors from the late 18th century, which are adorned with richly detailed flowering vines. We will also be offering a pair of Italian pedestals of gilt and blue-painted wood, which are carved with draperies, and an impressive Gustavian sofa from 1790 in its original length of 2.7 metres. It is made by Anders Hellman, one of the period's top cabinetmakers in Sweden.

The auction also features a large French Empire mantle clock of gilt bronze, inspired by the French artist Claude Galle. The clock is decorated with a standing figure in the form of a classic Muse with lyre, leaning against a plinth in which the white enamel dial is encased.

A pair of French Louis XVI candelabra of gilt and patinated bronze have also found their way to the auction, together with a pair of Louis XVI white-painted and gilt oak console tables with white marble tops, both with profiled apron, adorned with the classical frieze known as a running dog, which is a series of scrolls forming a stylised wave pattern, and rosettes.

Preview: 25–29 February at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen

Auction: Wednesday 2 March at 2 pm

Press photos

A set of five Italian Louis XVI giltwood and polycrome decorated mirrors, each with a foliate frame surmounted by an urn hung with swags and a bearded mask to the apron. Late 18th century. H. 84 cm. W. 43 cm. Estimate: DKK 250,000 / € 33,500

A large French Empire gilt bronze mantel clock, case by Claude Galle with standing figure of a classical Muse with lyre leaning against a square plinth enclosing the white enemal dial, the base adorned with figures in relif. Paris, early 19th century. H. 80 cm. W. 51 cm. D. 17 cm. Estimate: DKK 100,000 / €13,500

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is one of Scandinavia’s leading international auction houses, and one of Denmark’s oldest. It all started on 6 October 1948, when Arne Bruun Rasmussen conducted the first traditional auction in the saleroom at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen. Today, Jesper Bruun Rasmussen stands at the helm of the family-run business together with the third generation of the family, his son Frederik and daughter Alexa, and the company’s CEO Jakob Dupont.

In 2004, the first online auction was launched, and today the auction house has expanded to include departments in Copenhagen and Aarhus and representations in Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the US. About 100,000 lots are auctioned off each year at the traditional auctions and daily online auctions. Here you can bid on everything from art, antiques, modern design and jewellery to books, coins, stamps, wine and weaponry.