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Christie's: Edith Piaf, George Sand and Marie Curie united in a sale dedicated to women


The prestigious Christie's house is organizing a large auction on Wednesday June 16, with only works by women. Some lo

That's not a scoop.

But it is important to remember this.

Women are clearly under-represented in the history of art, literature or science.

This is why two Christie's specialists had the idea of ​​organizing a sale dedicated to them for the first time.

It will be held on Wednesday June 16.

But the 110 lots presented are on display free of charge, starting this Saturday, at the headquarters of the prestigious auction house.

“On the art market, men's ratings are higher than women's,” explains Alice Chevrier, co-sales manager, with her colleague, Bérénice Verdier.

Because they have always been more valued in history.

But if we never propose women, their odds will never increase in value!

We have selected four outstanding works from the sale, with prices ranging from 300 to 300,000 euros.

Marie Curie's impressive thesis

It is a small book with an orange cover, paperback.

Its state of conservation is exceptional.

In the hand, a few words: “Homage by the author, M. Curie.

This is an extremely rare autographed copy of Marie Curie's university thesis, dated 1903. The scientist presents her work on radioactivity, the name of which she herself invented.

Read also Marie Curie's Nobel Prize overshadowed by a sentimental scandal

Her husband Pierre Curie abandoned his other plans to have sex with her.

The Academy of Sciences decides to present this research to compete for the Nobel Prize in physics, the same year.

But the request is made only with the candidacy of Peter, without even mentioning the name of Mary!

“On reading the thesis, a Swedish academician points out the error.

And Pierre Curie himself specifies that he will not compete if his wife is not named with him.

The Nobel Academy therefore includes the physicist and the couple will win the prize.

George Sand's confidences to Flaubert

The writing is angular, occupying the entire sheet, and the letters drawn in black ink are sometimes difficult to decipher.

This eight-page letter is one of the last from the hand of George Sand, on the evening of his life, to his friend and confidant Gustave Flaubert, 17 years his junior.

"There is a lot of tenderness in this document where she kind of takes stock of her life," observes Alice Chevrier.

At this time, they tell each other everything, and their correspondence is intense.

Here, George Sand is very critical of the people she has worked with.


“Among artists and scholars, I have found no background.

(…) You are the only one with whom I was able to exchange ideas other than those of the profession.

"Before signing, with infinite gentleness:" I embrace you, I love you, this is the conclusion to all my speeches.


The sulphurous first edition of Histoire d'O

In golden letters, written in small capitals at the bottom of the green leather cover, we read “Histoire d'O” by Pauline Réage.

An original edition of this erotic text, which caused a scandal when it was published in 1954. The book tells the story of a couple who indulge in sadomasochistic practices.

“If we do a quick read, we can say that it does a lot of harm to the image of women, notes the sales manager.

But we notice that consent is at the heart of the story, the heroine never does anything against her will.

And there is something very contemporary about it.


In 1975, the release of the film inspired by the book, the first to have the mention "classified X", caused another scandal.

“This is the only time the bishop of Paris has demonstrated alongside feminists,” notes the expert.

What disturbs then is that Anne Desclos, the real name of Pauline Réage, wrote this book following a provocation by her lover, the writer Jean Paulhan.

“He allegedly told her that women were incapable of writing erotic novels in the vein of the Marquis de Sade.

She wanted to prove him wrong.

»Unusual detail, Danielle Mitterrand's signature, appears at the bottom of the leather cover.

It was she who made the binding.

Piaf's letter of rupture to Montand

Many ignore it. But Yves Montand had a love affair with the Kid. And in this letter, dated October 30, 1945, Édith Piaf, announces to him that she is leaving him. She writes from Brussels, where she is on tour. "Yves, (...) it was to end one day between us, for a long time I knew that we were not made (


) for each other", she confides to him in a rounded, broad handwriting. , which has quite a few spelling mistakes.

When Edith Piaf writes, you'd think you could hear her sing.

It's dramatic, bombastic.

“Forgive the pain I made you, but what can (


) reassure you is that mine is even greater… (…).

Forget me quickly and stay the great guy that you are.

(…) I am signing for the last time, Pupuce, ”continues the singer.

Piaf also implies that she was not faithful to the singer of "Feuilles Mortes".

“She has a very contemporary way of leading her love life,” notes Alice Chevrier.

Very free, regardless of the codes of the time.


“Women in art, from the Renaissance to today”

, sale on June 16 at 5 pm, exhibition from June 12 to 16 at Christie's, 9, avenue Matignon (Paris VIIIe).

Source: leparis

All life articles on 2021-06-12

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