Alain.R.Truong

26 mars 2015

'Rubens in Private: The Master Portrays his Family' opens at The Rubens House

Peter Paul Rubens, ‘Self-portrait in a Circle of Friends from Mantua’, approx

Peter Paul Rubens, ‘Self-portrait in a Circle of Friends from Mantua’, approx. 1602-1604, oil on canvas, 78 x 101 cm. Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, inv. no. Dep 248. © Rheinisches Bildarchiv, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Köln, Loan of the Federal Republic of Germany.

ANTWERP.- The Rubens House is holding a unique exhibition of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) as the portrait painter of his relatives. These are the most beautiful and intimate portraits ever painted by Rubens. For Rubens in Private. The Master Portrays his Family, these stunning portraits returned to Rubens’ former home for the first time. 

Michelangelo found the art of portraiture trivial and even Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), as an artist, did not immediately develop a particular fondness for the genre. Yet, Rubens was one of the best portraitists of his time. He displayed unparalleled dexterity in his portraits and was able to suggest an almost palpable sense of presence. The finest, most surprising portraits produced by Rubens were those of his close relatives, who were indeed very dear to him.

A labor of love 
Rubens’ intimate portraits were never intended for public display, and are therefore significantly freer and more experimental than the commissioned portraits he made of influential figures. Nothing in these paintings seems idealized. They are rare honest works, conveying much love at the same time. While the hundreds of letters he wrote hardly tell us anything about his emotional life, the portraits of Rubens’ intimates show in a very special way how much affection he had for his first and second wife, his brother and his children. One of the unique qualities of Rubens’ family portraits from a human perspective is the role played by communication. The glances and looks give the portraits dramatic expression and life. The painter shows us almost everything he has to tell us in the gazes exchanged by people through what they and we see. 

The main motivation for creating a portrait was and is the need to remember someone by. The portraits Rubens painted of his close relatives illustrate the artist’s existential need to perpetuate the memory of his loved ones on canvas. Like Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens believed that portraits preserved the beauty which would otherwise be destroyed by nature and time. For Leonardo and Rubens, however, a portrait was only a success if it showed what is typically regarded as invisible and elusive: the subject’s inner life or character. 

A confident and distinguished gentleman 
Although mainly concerned with providing an accurate representation and likeness, portraits usually offer more than mere resemblance; they also tell us something about the social status of the people portrayed, and the image of himself and of his family Rubens wanted to convey to the outside world. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Rubens’ phenomenal self-portraits. In them he invariably presented himself as a man of taste, a cultivated person who had learned to live with an equal measure of reason and feeling. In this Rubens fully fitted the profile of the perfect gentilhuomo from Il cortegiano (The Book of the Courtier) by Baldassare Castiglione, one of the key texts of the Renaissance and a book still highly valued by today’s culture lovers. The Book of the Courtier is of great historical significance not only because Castiglione describes in it the good taste and ideals prevalent at the height of the Italian Renaissance, but also because it had a major impact on culture in other European countries. For instance, this ideal courtier was the model for the English gentleman.  

Since the Renaissance, portraits of famous masters have been considered as collectibles by a relatively small elite. Already in the 1620s, the English King Charles I owned a stunning self-portrait of Rubens, and later in the 17th century, Rubens would be represented by one of his self-portraits in the no less renowned Medici collection in Florence. In ‘Rubens in Private’, these are presented together for the first time. The Self-Portrait from the Rubens House was restored in the National Gallery of London especially for the exhibition.  

A parade of masterpieces 
In addition to Rubens’ self-portraits , ‘Rubens in Private’ is offering a whole parade of masterpieces, such as the beautiful, meditative portrait of his beloved brother Philip, drawn and painted portraits of both his wives Isabella Brant and Helena Fourment, and portraits of his children. Isabella, who died relatively young, was Rubens’ great love and support for seventeen years. In the portraits the artist made of her, she looks at us with twinkling eyes and blushing cheeks. She looks so radiant, she almost seems to shine. One can only paint like that when one feels completely at ease with the other. Four years after Isabella’s death, Rubens married the seventeen-year-old Helena, “the most beautiful girl in Antwerp”. He experienced a second youth with her and Helena remained an important source of inspiration until his death.  

Not only the nobility, everyone who could afford it would have portraits of their children, or their own portray painted. The main motive behind all these portraits was simple: to show the great pride and love of parents for their offspring. The study of the head of Rubens’ eldest daughter Clara Serena is one of the highlights of the exhibition. The portrait shows Clara at her sweetest, yet looking very spontaneous and natural. The artist concentrated all his attention on the child’s face which became the focus of the composition. Here, the viewer is confronted with a close-up which is further enhanced by the sustained gaze of the almond-shaped eyes. When Rubens painted her, Clara must have been around five years old. She died in 1623 at the age of twelve.  

Almost four hundred years later, Rubens’ family portraits are still full of life. ‘Rubens in Private. The Master Portrays his Family brings together some fifty masterpieces from international museums, among which Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Uffizi in Florence, the Mauritshuis in The Hague, the British Museum in London, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Hermitage in Saint-Petersburg, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Albertina Museum and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the Liechtenstein Princely Collections and the British Royal Collection. 

Peter Paul Rubens, Filips Rubens, 1611-1612

Peter Paul Rubens, 'Filips Rubens', 1611-1612, oil on panel, 68.5 x 54 cm. © Detroit Institute of Arts, USA, Gift of William E. Scripps in memory of his son, James E. Scripps II / Bridgeman Images. 


Caravage, Michelangelo Merisi dit (1571 - 1610), "Amour endormi" actuellement au musée Jacquemart-André

L’Amour endormi – Le Caravage

Caravage, Michelangelo Merisi dit (1571 - 1610), Amour endormi, 1608. Huile sur toile, 72x105 cm, n°inv Pal.192 n°183. Florence, Istituti museali della Soprintendenza Speciale per il Polo Museale Fiorentino - Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti. © Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della Città di Firenze - Gabinetto Fotografico

L'Amour endormi et une commande du frère Francesco dell'Antella, chevalier de l'Ordre,pendant le séjour de Caravage à Malte en 1607. Au dos du tableau, une insciption indique "Opera del Sr Michel Angelo Merisi da Caravaggio in Malta 1608" (oeuvre de M. Michel Angelo Merisi de Caravaggio à Malte 1608).

C'est indiscutablement une oeuvre qui appartient à la période tardive du maître : la simplicité de mise, la rapidité del'exécution sont en effet caractéristiques de la période maltaise et des années suivantes. Les radiographies montrent clairement la couche de préparation étalée de haut en bas, commune dans toutes les oeuvres tardives de Caravage.

Ce nu enfantin témoigne de l'évolution de Caravage désormais bien loin du monde idéalisé de ses jeunes années et de la recherche d'une beauté objzctive chez ses modèles, jusqu'au paradoxe. En 1952, Roberto Longhi note ainsi que Caravage "se complaît à rendre hideux le symbole canonique de la beauté païenne".

NDB: J'ai été également subjugué par cette toile, ce matin au vernissage presse de l'exposition "De Giotto à Caravage. Les passions de Roberto Longhi" au Musée Jacquemart-André"This image is in the public domain due to its age. (Wikipedia)

Posté par Alain Truong à 18:33 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
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Jusepe de Ribera (1591 – 1652), Saint Thomas, Saint Barthélémy, Saint Paul actuellement exposés au musée Jacquemart-André

de Ribera (1591 – 1652) , Saint Barthélémy, vers 1612

Jusepe de Ribera (1591 – 1652) , Saint Barthélémy, vers 1612, huile sur toile, 126 x 97 cm. Florence, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell’Arte Roberto Longhi © Studio Sébert Photographes.

Jusepe Ribera (1591 – 1652), Saint Thomas, vers 1613

Jusepe Ribera (1591 – 1652), Saint Thomas, vers 1612 : Huile sur toile 126 x 97 cm Florence, Florence, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell’Arte Roberto Longhi © Studio Sébert Photographes.

Jusepe Ribera (1591 – 1652), Saint Paul, vers 1612

Jusepe Ribera (1591 – 1652), Saint Paul, vers 1612 : Huile sur toile 126 x 97 cm, Florence, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell’Arte Roberto Longhi © Studio Sébert Photographes.

Toujours auprès du marquis Gavotti à Rome, Roberto Longhi fait l’acquisition de cinq panneaux représentant des Apôtres dont saint Thomas, saint Barthélémy et saint Paul. De son vivant, si Longhi leur trouvait des similitudes avec l’art de Jusepe Ribera, peintre espagnol installé très jeune en Italie, il n’était pas allé jusqu’à lui attribuer ces panneaux. Cette attribution récente (2000) est désormais approuvée, avec une datation autour de 1612.

Sept autres apôtres complétaient sans doute l’ensemble, selon un genre que l’on appelait en espagnol un « Apostolado ». Le Christ et ses disciples y sont généralement représentés à mi-corps, et chaque saint est désigné par l’instrument de son supplice. C’est le cas ici : saint Thomas brandit une lance, saint Barthélémy tient la dépouille de son propre supplice,  et une épée est déposée derrière saint Paul.

L’exceptionnelle qualité des panneaux a été maintes fois soulignée, en dépit de l’usure visible de certains d’entre eux. Parmi les premiers à apprécier le réalisme de Caravage, Ribera retient la leçon et se livre ici à un portrait saisissant des apôtres : si le dispositif est assez unitaire – un fond monochrome, et un cadrage resserré sur le buste –, c’est la variété des attitudes qui frappe, derrière leur monumentalité apparente. On note aussi le réalisme des rougeurs sur les visages, la barbe hirsute de Thomas, les oreilles décollées de Barthélémy. Le peintre a pris soin de modeler la profondeur des plis, accusés par l’éclairage marqué, de sorte que les manteaux eux-mêmes confèrent une ample épaisseur et une grande densité aux figures.

NDB: Ma grande découverte de ce matin au vernissage presse de l'exposition "De Giotto à Caravage. Les passions de Roberto Longhi" au Musée Jacquemart-André". J'ai été complètement subjugué par ces 3 toiles avec son fond tellement contemporain. On pense aux portraits du Studio Harcourt...J'aimerais bien voir les deux autres toiles de la série de 5 acquis auprès du marquis Gavotti à Rome.

Posté par Alain Truong à 17:43 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
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25 mars 2015

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Coupé with sliding steel sunroof

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Coupé with sliding steel sunroof

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Coupé with sliding steel sunroof. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €475,000 - 575,000 (£350,000 - 420,000). Photo Bonhams

Chassis no. 188.014-7500020 - Engine no. 199.980-6500131

Right from the marque's creation in 1926 by the merger of Daimler-Benz and Mercedes, Mercedes-Benz's top-of-the-range models have ranked in the forefront of the world's greatest automobiles. Throughout the 1950s the company's flagship model was the 300S, a luxurious Grand Tourer in the tradition of the pre-war 540 K that was both lighter and faster than its illustrious predecessor. Mercedes-Benz's first prestige car of the post-WW2 period, the 300 debuted at the Paris Salon in 1951. The range comprised the six-light, four-door saloon and similar-sized cabriolet, plus a trio of two-door variants built on a shorter wheelbase. 

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1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Coupé with sliding steel sunroof. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €475,000 - 575,000 (£350,000 - 420,000). Photo Bonhams

Like the majority of 1950s luxury cars, the 300 retained a separate chassis, though unlike most of its rivals could boast all-independent suspension. Later to form the basis of the immortal 300 SL sports car's, the 3.0-litre, overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine produced 115bhp, an output good enough to endow the saloon with a genuine 100mph maximum speed despite an all-up weight of 1,780kg (almost 4,000lbs). And while not unique in that respect, the 300 could cruise at close to its maximum speed while transporting six passengers in comfort in a manner that few of its contemporaries could match. Even more performance was available to those in a position to afford a 300 S. At US$12,500 the latter was more than double the price of the most expensive Cadillac and costlier than a 300 SL, so remained the province of a highly select clientele. Built in coupé, cabriolet and roadster versions, the 300S enjoyed an extra 35bhp courtesy of an increased compression ratio and three - as opposed to two - Solex down-draught carburettors. Its top speed was 176km/h (109mph), a figure improved upon by the subsequent 300 Sc introduced towards the end of 1955 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The 300 Sc featured a 175bhp dry-sump engine equipped with fuel injection, and boasted revised rear suspension with single-pivot swing axles similar to that of the 300 SL Roadster, a development that enhanced both roadholding and handling. The car's top speed was now 180km/h (112mph) with 100km/k (62mph) reachable in around 13 seconds. To cope with the improved performance, servo-assisted brakes, optional from 1954, were standardised. Coachbuilt in the traditional manner by Sindelfingen, the 300 S family represents a standard of excellence that has rarely been equalled; only materials of the finest quality were used for the hand finished interiors, which were comparable with those of the contemporary Rolls-Royce. The 300 Sc is widely regarded by discerning collectors as the most desirable of all Mercedes-Benz's post-war luxury models. Only 300 examples of the 300 Sc were built and survivors are both rare and highly sought after.  

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1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Coupé with sliding steel sunroof. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €475,000 - 575,000 (£350,000 - 420,000). Photo Bonhams

One of only 98 built with this particular body style, this stunning and ultra-rare 300 Sc coupé left the factory on 13th June 1957 and was delivered to the Mercedes-Benz main dealer in Düsseldorf (data sheet on file). Painted in its original black with contrasting red leather interior, it also features the very rare, large sliding steel sunroof, which makes it an excellent proposition for summer touring. 

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1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Coupé with sliding steel sunroof. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €475,000 - 575,000 (£350,000 - 420,000). Photo Bonhams

Purchased by the vendor in 2009 via a Dutch dealer, who had imported it from the United States, the 300 Sc was in a condition necessitating a comprehensive restoration to return the car to its former glory. The owner entrusted the task to Northern German Mercedes-Benz restoration expert Jürgen Swoboda, who commenced work in January 2010. There is insufficient space in this catalogue to list all the works carried out, but copies of the restoration invoices totalling approximately €120,000 are on file. Importantly, wherever possible original components were used, and the beautiful interior woodwork is still original, having been restored and re-lacquered. It is worth noting that even the very rarely found ashtray with its ingenious folding mechanism is still present and in working order. The restoration was finished in April 2011 and the car is described as in 'Condition 2+', such is the quality of the workmanship.  

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1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Coupé with sliding steel sunroof. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €475,000 - 575,000 (£350,000 - 420,000). Photo Bonhams

Since the restoration's completion the owner has enjoyed this fabulous Mercedes-Benz on many a trip to Switzerland, Austria and in his native Germany. To make this heavy car more manoeuvrable, he had electric power steering fitted in 2013, a sensible modification that can easily be removed should the next custodian so desire. Resplendent in its original colour combination of black with red leather interior, this 300 Sc is so much rarer than the 300 SL Gullwing or Roadster whose basic engine and fuel injection it shares, and surely represents a shrewd investment as well as being an eminently useable touring car. Accompanying documentation consists of the aforementioned copies of restoration invoices, a copy of the delivery sheet and German Historic registration papers. 

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1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Coupé with sliding steel sunroof. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €475,000 - 575,000 (£350,000 - 420,000). Photo Bonhams

Bonhams. THE MERCEDES-BENZ SALE, 28 Mar 2015 14:00 CET - STUTTGART, MERCEDES-BENZ MUSEUM

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet A

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet A

One of only 203 examples produced. 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet A. Estimate €450,000 - 550,000 (£330,000 - 410,000). Photo Bonhams.

Chassis no. 188-010-4500019 - Engine no. 188.920- 3500380

More expensive than the 300 SL sports car and almost double the price of the contemporary top-of-the-range Cadillac, the Mercedes-Benz 300 S was one of the world's most exclusive automobiles. It is also historically significant as one of Mercedes-Benz's first all-new designs of the post-war era, debuting in the autumn of 1951. The 300's arrival re-established Mercedes-Benz in the front rank of prestige car manufacturers, marking as it did a return to the marque's tradition of building high-performance luxury automobiles of the finest quality.  

Although Mercedes-Benz would adopt unitary chassis/body construction for its lower and mid-priced cars as the 1950s progressed, the retention of a traditional separate frame for the 300 enabled a wide variety of coachbuilt body types to be offered. The 300's cross-braced, oval-tube chassis followed the lines of the 170S and 220, all round and four-wheel drum brakes, but incorporated the added refinements of hypoid bevel final drive, dynamically balanced wheels and remote electrical control of the rear suspension ride height.

Initially developing 150 bhp, the 3.0-litre, overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine - used in fuel-injected form in the 300 SL sports car - was boosted in power for the succeeding 300b and 300c models, finally gaining fuel injection in the restyled 300d of 1957. Other improvements along the way included larger brakes (with servo-assistance from 1954), optional power steering (on the 300d) and the adoption of three-speed automatic transmission as standard on the latter. 

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One of only 203 examples produced. 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet A. Estimate €450,000 - 550,000 (£330,000 - 410,000). Photo Bonhams.

By Mercedes-Benz's most experienced craftsmen, the Mercedes-Benz 300 was luxuriously appointed and trimmed with materials of the highest quality. Fast and elegant, it was one of very few contemporary vehicles capable of carrying six passengers in comfort at sustained high speeds. The conservatively styled 300 saloon was soon joined by the 300 S Coupe , a model which succeeded in recapturing all the elegance of the pre-war 540K. Introduced at the Paris Salon in October 1951, the 300 S was built in two-seater coupé, cabriolet and roadster forms on a shortened 300 saloon chassis, the cabriolet being the more luxurious of the two soft-tops. Indeed, with its lined hood erected, the cabriolet was every bit as quiet and comfortable as the fixed-head coupé. 

Not only was the two-seater 300S considerably lighter than the saloon, it was also more powerful, boasting an engine equipped with triple (as opposed to twin) Solex carburettors and a raised compression ratio. Maximum power output was increased to 150bhp and top speed to 175km/h (109mph). Unlike some of its Spartanly furnished contemporaries, the 300 S boasted as lavishly equipped interior featuring supple leather upholstery, beautiful burr walnut trim, chromium-plated dashboard instrumentation and precision-made switch gear. 

Elegantly styled in the pre-war manner yet technologically bang up to date, the 300 S was built to the Stuttgart firm's uncompromising quality standards. Inevitably, production was limited, only 760 examples of the 300 S/Sc (560/200) leaving the factory between 1951 and 1958, of which only 203/49 were 300 S/Sc cabriolets. Ownership of such an exclusive automobile was necessarily restricted to a wealthy few, among them film stars Cary Grant and Gary Cooper, and the Aga Khan. 

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One of only 203 examples produced. 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet A. Estimate €450,000 - 550,000 (£330,000 - 410,000). Photo Bonhams.

Chassis number '4500019' was delivered new in 1954 to a German industrialist, the owner of a rubber factory near Frankfurt, complete with a full set of pigskin luggage, including the rare round suitcase. He kept the car until 1973 when it was purchased by another German entrepreneur for his extensive private collection where it remained for nearly 30 years. The original invoice when the car changed hands from the first to the second owner is in the file. The 300 S was one of the latter's favourite cars and was used for touring and classic rallies after he moved to Switzerland. In 1989 he commissioned Garage P de Siebenthal, based in Lausanne, Switzerland to undertake the car's restoration (invoices on file). In the course of these works the car received a new interior, a brake overhaul, a general major service and new carpets.  

At the same time the interior woodwork was restored and re-lacquered (10 coats), new shock absorbers fitted, the steering wheel restored and a new hood lining installed. The invoice amounts for these works were CHF 32,080.50 and CHF 16,190. Also on file is a quantity of old invoices dating back to the 1950s; a copy of the original German registration; the aforementioned sales invoice to the second owner; the cancelled Swiss Carte Grise; and proof that EU taxes have been paid. Swiss collectors should note that we have been advised that the car would be eligible for a reduced import duty should it return to Switzerland as it was previously registered there.  

In 2002 the car was purchased at auction by the immediately preceding (third) owner, a Swiss-based private collector, and treated to a thorough service by Markus Scharhorst in Toffen (Berne) immediately after acquisition. The Mercedes was used for some memorable Alpine tours, coping admirably with high-altitude passes such as the Simplon, Saint Gotthard and Nufunen, the second highest pass in Switzerland. While in the preceding owner's care the car was driven to Germany and serviced there by his mechanic, a member of the Mercedes-Benz Veteranen Club, receiving a full service, carburettor set up, new voltage regulator and battery, new steering damper and a full set of new whitewall tyres. Purchased by the vendor in 2006, the Mercedes has resided since in his impressive private collection and has seen very limited use. It is presented in remarkably original condition, featuring the nicely patinated interior and good hood.  

Prohibitively expensive when new, these cars have a dedicated following and, being much rarer than both the 300 SL Gullwing and Roadster, represent a potentially sound investment as well as affording their fortunate owners enjoyable motoring in matchless style. 

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One of only 203 examples produced. 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet A. Estimate €450,000 - 550,000 (£330,000 - 410,000). Photo Bonhams.

Bonhams. THE MERCEDES-BENZ SALE, 28 Mar 2015 14:00 CET - STUTTGART, MERCEDES-BENZ MUSEUM

Posté par Alain Truong à 23:15 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
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1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €2 million - 2.5 million (£1.5 million - 1.8 million). Photo Bonhams.

Chassis no. 154076 - Engine no. 154076 - Body no. 828610

Together with its predecessor the 500 K, the magnificent Mercedes-Benz 540 K was arguably the most noteworthy production model offered by the Stuttgart firm during the 1930s, representing the pinnacle of its pre-war achievements. A development of the 500 K, whose independently suspended chassis it shared, the 540 K was powered by a 5.4-litre supercharged straight-eight engine. The 540 K was one of the first models developed under Mercedes' new chief engineer, ex-racing driver Max Sailer, successor to Hans Nibel, who had died in November 1934 aged only 54. Mercedes-Benz's flagship model, it featured the company's famous Roots-type supercharger system in which pressing the accelerator pedal to the end of its travel would simultaneously engage the compressor and close off the alternative atmospheric intake to the carburettor. This system had been thoroughly proven on the preceding series of Dr Ferdinand Porsche-conceived S cars that had dominated racing during the 1920s, and in effect the 540 K was the last supercharged production Mercedes until relatively recent times. 

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1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €2 million - 2.5 million (£1.5 million - 1.8 million). Photo Bonhams.

Presented at the Paris Salon in October 1936, the 540 K was hailed by Mercedes-Benz as conjuring up 'visions of breath-taking exploits of racing cars and drivers of international fame, but also of superlative comfort and coachwork of exquisite beauty, fine paintwork, brightly polished metal, the finest hardwoods and leather - massive and yet outstandingly attractive bodies - in short: the car for the connoisseur.' It had an engine that developed 115PS un-supercharged or 180PS (178bhp) with the compressor engaged, while the gearbox was a four-speeder but with a direct top gear rather than the overdrive ratio used on the earlier 500K. With the supercharger engaged, the 540 K's blown straight eight gave it a top speed approaching 110mph (177km/h. Servo-assisted hydraulic brakes provided adequate stopping power. 

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1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €2 million - 2.5 million (£1.5 million - 1.8 million). Photo Bonhams.

Its performance potential was such that Mercedes-Benz in the UK retained racing driver Goffredo 'Freddy' Zehender as technical adviser and demonstration driver, since the super-charged Mercedes was one of the few genuine 100mph road cars available in the 1930s. 

Tested by Britain's Motor magazine, the 540 K was judged to have less heavy steering and handling than its predecessor, the 500 K, plus an even more comfortable ride, even though the same all-round independent suspension layout with parallel links and coil springs at the front and swing axles at the rear was retained. The Motor's test car returned 102mph over the timed quarter-mile with the supercharger engaged and 85mph with it disengaged. The servo-assisted brakes came in for fulsome praise, the blower was found to be relatively quiet and the springing more comfortable than that of the 500 K, while the steering and handling also compared favourably with that model.  

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1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €2 million - 2.5 million (£1.5 million - 1.8 million). Photo Bonhams.

In May 1938, the 540 K was tested by Motor's rival magazine Autocar and achieved the highest maximum speed of any road-test car up to that date: carrying three pas¬sengers, the car reached 104.65mph (168.5km/h) on the race circuit at Brooklands, Surrey. 'One's foot goes hard down, and an almost demonical howl comes in,' reported test driver H S Linfield. 'The rev counter and speedometer needles leap round their dials: there is perhaps no other car noise in the world so distinctive as that produced by the Mercedes supercharger.' 

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1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €2 million - 2.5 million (£1.5 million - 1.8 million). Photo Bonhams.

Late in 1938, a revised 540 K made its appearance, with oval-section chassis tubes instead of channel frame members, while the adoption of sodium-cooled valves followed the company's highly success¬ful racing practice. The manufacturing record of the 540 K reveals its exclusive nature: 97 being produced in 1936, 145 in 1937, 95 in 1938 and 69 in 1939 before the war ended series production (though three more were built up to July 1942). In recent years, the rarity, style and performance of these big supercharged Mercedes have made them one of the most sought-after of all classic cars on the few occasions they have come on the open market.  

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1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €2 million - 2.5 million (£1.5 million - 1.8 million). Photo Bonhams.

Delivered in Berlin on 5th February 1938, chassis number '154076' was first owned by 'Tauentzien – Verlag', an advertising agency whose proprietor was one Georg Niedermeier. This particular 540 K Cabriolet A with its attractive enclosed spare wheel and sporty rear end not unlike those of certain 'Spezial Roadsters' is featured in Jan Melin's reference work: 'Mercedes-Benz Supercharged 8-Cylinder Cars of the 1930s' (Volume 2, pages 222 & 223) in which it is pictured just after its restoration to concours condition at 'Reifen Wagner' in Germany, well known specialists for these Kompressor cars. Shown at the Louis Vuitton Bagatelle concours in 2001, the 540 K was owned in 2002 by Kenneth McBride of Seattle, WA, USA, returning to Europe in 2004 when it was purchased by the renowned Mercedes-Benz collector Etienne Veen. The current private vendor purchased the car from him in February 2006. Fully serviced and on the button, it comes with a UK V5C registration document. 

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1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A. Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €2 million - 2.5 million (£1.5 million - 1.8 million). Photo Bonhams.

Offering elegant two-seater accommodation allied to breathtaking performance, this rare and stylish 540 K cabriolet A represents the very best that money could buy in the late 1930s and is a fine example of this classic German model. As its maker said: 'a car for the connoisseur'. Bonhams recommend close inspection of this highly desirable, rare and beautifully presented motor car. 

Bonhams. THE MERCEDES-BENZ SALE, 28 Mar 2015 14:00 CET - STUTTGART, MERCEDES-BENZ MUSEUM

Posté par Alain Truong à 22:48 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
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1931 Mercedes-Benz 770 Cabriolet D

1931 Mercedes-Benz 770 Cabriolet D

Originally the property of Erik Charell. 1931 Mercedes-Benz 770 Cabriolet D (W 07). Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €2.3 million - 2.8 million (£1.7 million - 2.1 million). Photo Bonhams.

Chassis no. 85205/R.B07/4 - Engine no. 85205

Introduced at the 1930 Paris Motor Show where it was among the highlights of the day, the sensational Mercedes-Benz 770 was an extremely elegant and extravagant motor car. It was the largest model that Mercedes-Benz had produced to date, and swiftly gained the sobriquet 'Großer'. The 770 was powered by an eight-cylinder inline engine that displaced a massive 7.7 litres and produced an impressive 150bhp, while the optional supercharger boosted its output even further, to 200 horsepower. The supercharger was a popular option and most cars were fitted with it. Only 13 buyers opted for the normally aspirated engine. 

At almost 3750 mm, the generous wheelbase provided an ideal platform for the creation of bespoke coachbuilt bodies tailored to the individual customer's desires and tastes, while the engine incorporated numerous advanced features guaranteed to appeal to a technologically informed clientele. Made of wear-resistant chrome-nickel-alloy grey cast iron, the cylinder block was combined with a heavily ribbed crankcase incorporating an integral oil pan made of Elektron magnesium alloy. Carefully balanced both statically and dynamically, the chrome-nickel steel crankshaft incorporated solid-forged counterweights and ran in nine main bearings, while a progressively acting vibration damper at its front end ensured smooth and quiet running. No practical sidevalve engine could produce the required power, so the 'Großer' unit used overhead valves actuated by means of roller tappets, pushrods and rocker arms controlled by a side camshaft running in nine bearings. Fuel was supplied via an updraft twin-choke carburettor equipped with an accelerator pump and cold-starting aid, which was mounted on a light-alloy inlet manifold, automatically heated by exhaust gas via thermostatically controlled hot-air flaps. The ignition system was equally advanced, combining battery/coil and magneto, the two elements operating independently of one another to ensure reliability. 

The low-compression (4.7:1) long-stroke engine developed its 150 horsepower at a modest 2,800rpm, with maximum torque of approximately 289lb/ft arriving at only 1,200 revs. Despite weighing some 3.5 tons, the 770 was capable of reaching 150km/h (approximately 93mph) but even this was deemed insufficient by the majority of customers, hence the optional supercharger. Costing as much as a medium size family car, the Roots blower gave off a characteristically high-pitched whine when used in Mercedes-Benz's sports cars, a racket deemed quite out of place in a luxury car. As deployed in the 770, it gave only a muted whisper thanks to very suppression of intake noise. For better heat dissipation – and as a status symbol – the supercharged models were fitted with exhaust pipes sheathed in flexible metal hose, projecting from the right-hand side of the bonnet. With the blower installed, maximum power increased to 200bhp at the same engine speed, while torque rose to a mighty 395lb/ft at 1,500rpm and the top speed to 160km/h (approximately 99mph) earning these cars an additional nickname: 'Road Express'.  

Bodies were provided by Mercedes-Benz's in-house coachbuilding facility, Sindelfingen. 

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Originally the property of Erik Charell. 1931 Mercedes-Benz 770 Cabriolet D (W 07). Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €2.3 million - 2.8 million (£1.7 million - 2.1 million). Photo Bonhams. 

This enabled the Großer to be delivered complete, an almost unheard of state of affairs in an age when bespoke bodies by independent coachbuilders were the norm for luxury cars. 

Styles available were the Pullman saloon, six-seater (open) touring car, four-door Cabriolet D and six-seater Cabriolet F, all of which were intended to appeal to the more formal tastes, though when equipped with the Cabriolet B (four windows) or Cabriolet C (two windows) coachwork, the 770 took on a decidedly sporting appearance that belied its bulk. The flawless workmanship of the bodies and their interiors met with enthusiastic approval, enhancing Sindelfingen's reputation throughout the world. Naturally, customers were free to choose interior and exterior trim to suit their personal taste, so it is not surprising that, to a large extent, each car bore the signature of its original owner.  

Even the cheapest 770 cost over 40,000 RM, roughly the price of the average family home, while the top-of-range six-seater cabriolet cost over 47,000 RM, making the Großer Germany's most expensive car. Ownership was necessarily confined to a wealthy elite, with a substantial percentage of the 117 examples produced up to 1938 being purchased by royalty. Emperor Hirohito of Japan owned not fewer than seven, all armour-plated, while other royal owners included Kings Farouk of Egypt, Faisal of Iraq, Zog of Albania, Boris of Bulgaria and Kaiser Wilhelm II, who took delivery of his in Holland following his exile there after WWI. 

Reputedly costing 47,500 RM when new, the Cabriolet D offered here is one of only 18 produced and comes with a copy of the its original factory order form. Chassis number '85205' was delivered in Berlin on 18th August 1931 to the German actor, dancer and theatre/film director Erik Charell, best known as the creator of musical revues and operettas such as Casanova, Die drei Musketiere and Im weißen Rößl ('The White Horse Inn'). 'The White Horse Inn' would turn out to be one of his greatest successes, being staged in London, Paris and on Broadway during the 1930s. Born Erich Karl Löwenberg, Charell fled to the USA after the Nazis came to power in 1933, working for the Fox Film Corporation in Hollywood. It seems likely that he took the Mercedes with him when he left for the United States. He returned to Germany after the war and in 1950 enjoyed an enormous success with the musical comedy Feuerwerk, from which came the worldwide hit O mein Papa. A prolific art collector in his later years, Charell died in Munich in 1969.  

This car was owned in 1949 by Kenneth Johnson in Brooklyn, New York, who kept it until 1952 when ownership passed to a Mr Von Mering of Hawley, Pennsylvania. Following restoration and many years in the famous Blackhawk Collection, the magnificent 770 K returned to Germany in 2004 where it was recently restored for a second time. Once again in top mechanical and cosmetic condition, this Großer Mercedes is ready for any event, long distance tour or Concours d'Élégance.  

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Originally the property of Erik Charell. 1931 Mercedes-Benz 770 Cabriolet D (W 07). Coachwork by Sindelfingen. Estimate €2.3 million - 2.8 million (£1.7 million - 2.1 million). Photo Bonhams. 

Bonhams. THE MERCEDES-BENZ SALE, 28 Mar 2015 14:00 CET - STUTTGART, MERCEDES-BENZ MUSEUM

 

 

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Diamond Necklace

Diamond Necklace

Diamond NecklaceEstimate 1,600,000 — 1,900,000 HKD (180,253 - 214,050 EUR). Photo Sotheby's

The front composed of three rows of cushion-shaped and old mine-cut diamonds, completed by a two row and single row of similarly-cut diamonds, the diamonds together weighing approximately 95.35 carats, mounted in 18 karat white gold, length approximately 430mm.

Sotheby's. Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite, Hong Kong, 06 avr. 2015, 01:00 PM

Diamond Ring

Diamond Ring

9.03 carats Diamond RingEstimate 2,400,000 — 3,000,000 HKD (270,379 - 337,974 EUR). Photo Sotheby's

Simply set with a brilliant-cut diamond weighing 9.03 carats, mounted in 18 karat white gold. Ring size: 5½ 

Accompanied by GIA report numbered 17492408, dated 19 September 2008, stating that the 9.03 carat diamond is F colour, VS2 clarity, with Excellent Cut, Polish, and Symmetry. 

Sotheby's. Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite, Hong Kong, 06 avr. 2015, 01:00 PM

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Pair of Diamond Pendent Earrings

Pair of Diamond Pendent Earrings

Pair of 4.50 and 4.28 carats Type IIa Diamond Pendent EarringsEstimate 2,500,000 — 3,000,000 HKD (281,645 - 337,974 EUR). Photo Sotheby's

Each suspending on a marquise-shaped diamond weighing 4.50 and 4.28 carats respectively, mounted in platinum.

Accompanied by GIA reports numbered 6157530767 and 2155697113, dated 28 August 2013 and 17 January 2014 respectively, stating that the 4.50 and 4.28 carat diamonds are both D colour, Internally Flawless clarity; also accompanied by diamond type classification reports stating that the diamonds are determined to be Type IIa diamonds. Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure type of diamond and often have exceptional optical transparency.

Sotheby's. Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite, Hong Kong, 06 avr. 2015, 01:00 PM

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