As NYARC’s IMLS M-LEAD 2 Project Coordinator stationed at the Brooklyn Museum I see a lot of auction catalogs—and I love them! Auction catalogs from the Brooklyn Museum Library continue to provide fascinating and surprising discoveries. Recently, I found a catalog comprising the collection of Charles Gillot filled with visual treasures! Who was Charles Gillot? Following the modern tradition of virtual research, I Googled him.
Charles Gillot (1853-1903) was a French inventor and avid collector of ancient and medieval works of art. His father, Firmin Gillot, invented “gillotage” a type of relief photoengraving that revolutionized book publishing; allowing simultaneous printing of text and images. Like father like son, Charles later made technical improvements upon this process, while concurrently amassing an immense amount of important art works.
Detail of title page illustration from Hôtel Drouot, Estampes japonaises et livres illustrés (Paris : Hôtel Drouot, 1904)
Following Gillot’s death, Durand-Ruel gallery in Paris conducted two auction sales of his collection primarily made up of Asian objects as well as Islamic antiquities. The 1904 sale received high praise from many notable figures of the time such as the Goncourt brothers, calling it “the most perfect, the most sophisticated Japanese collection.”
These beautiful auction catalogs (Part 1 & Part 2) are massive. Carefully bound in two separate catalogs comprised of 3,453 lots—the delicate illustrations, marbled paper, and leather embossed horse are really something to behold!
Cover from Galerie Durand-Ruel, Objets d'art et peintures d'Extrême-Orient (Paris: Galeries Durand-Ruel, 1904).
Upon discovering the remainder of his collection in an unassuming Parisian flat nearly 104 years after the original sale, Christie’s put together the second part of Gillot’s collection. The sale took place in March 2008 and although we do not own the auction catalog for that sale, it is owned by the Frick Art Reference Library, one of our NYARC partners.”
Kim Loconto, IMLS M-Lead 2 Project Coordinator, Brooklyn Museum
Banner image: Detail of decorative masks from Galerie Durand-Ruel, Objets d'art et peintures d'Extrême-Orient (Paris: Galeries Durand-Ruel, 1904).