This charcoal and pencil drawing by the Danish artist Niels Christian Hansen (1834-1922) is of
Jean-Baptiste Pigalle's sculpture of Mercury attaching his wings (1748), at the Louvre.
The auction for its sale was held last Friday, and when I checked the following morning I noted that it had been secured at under the upper limit of my bid. I therefore assumed that I had won it. But no confirmation to that effect came, and indeed when I checked my account it appeared that my bid was recorded as "submitted, but not accepted", and the lot had been sold to a bidder on the floor, (at below my upper limit). On Monday I managed to speak to someone at the auction house in Berlin, and acertained that they had auctioned the subsequent lot before mine and to use the technical term, this had screwed up the system. At the time they were awaiting confirmation from the portal manager to see who had won. But alas no news came until just a few minutes ago,
that I have indeed secured this.
Charcoal and pencil is a departure from my usual medium, but I am obviously drawn to the classical image, and Hansen's reputation as a portraitist, (and subsequently photographer) makes him quite sought after. And this and other lots were from a folio newly discoverd in Berlin, (and one hopes not something knocked up yesterday).
As the god of messages, this scenario could not have been more confused. But inter alia Mercury is also the god of financial gain...and of trickery and theives. I was thinking the worst and was about to shoot the messenger, until her email a few minutes ago.
Images from Auctionata