Lot 2880. A large gogotte, Oligocene (30 million years old), Fontainebleau, France. Estimate HKD 150,000 — 180,000 (16,939 - 20,327 EUR). Lot Sold 1,250,000 HKD (141,159 EUR). Photo: Sotheby's.
of expansive horizontal proportions and moderately flattened form with one side slightly concave, the sandstone assemblage of soft rounded volumes with burgeoning layers and cascading concretions perforated by natural openings, metal stand - stone 61 by 114.5 by 22 cm, 24 by 45 by 8 5/8 in.
Note: In the 17th century, King Louis XIV decorated the magnificent fountains in his gardens at the Versailles Palace with these unique prehistoric forms. As the sight for millions of visitors today, the prestigious gardens continue to be a spectacle for admiration and tribute to the exceptional quality of nature's beauty befit for a king. Such novelties, like the timeless form of the gogotte or the tusk of a narwhal, have long been the objects of wonder in the great Cabinets of Curiosity that capture the cultural imagination of humanity.
A gogotte, which could be a sculpture from today’s contemporary art world, is a millions-of-years old naturally shaped mineral rarity consisting of tiny quartz fragments held together by calcium carbonate. These bizarre sandstone formations from Fontainebleau in France, which inspired the Surrealists, can also be viewed today in the Versailles gardens. Louis XIV of France, known as the Sun King, commissioned similar gogottes to be excavated for his gardens. The ornately rounded, scrolling formations—somewhat Baroque in design—have been restored to their original state surrounding the mysterious Grove of the Three Fountains designed by Le Nôtre in 1677. A particularly well-preserved and similar-sized example of a sandstone concretion is on display at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.
Sotheby's. Literati / Curiosity II, Hong Kong, 05 Apr 2016