An important, circa 1820 Quebec armoire in alligatored yellow paint with the family nickname “Armoire Crocodile” sold for $29,500, and a Louis XIII armchair from the Bastien family on the Huron-Wendat reserve in Loretteville, Quebec rang up $21,240 at the sale of the Jean-Marc and Danielle Belzile collection held May 13, 2023, by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd., online and live at the Marriott Courtyard West Island in Quebec, Canada.
All prices quoted are in Canadian dollars and include an 18% buyer’s premium.
It was the first auction ever held outside of Ontario for Miller & Miller, which typically holds online-only auctions that have been highly successful, but the Jean-Marc and Danielle Belzile collection was too excellent to pass up. Beginning in the 1960s, the couple set out to find the rarest, most iconic and most unusual antiques in all of Quebec. They retained most of what they found in their personal collection, and many of the highlights from their collection are documented in reference books.
“The Quebec audience is like none other,” Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions said. “These people have passion. Seeing those live expressions of joy and disappointment simultaneously was invigorating. While many of the armoires fell beneath our expectations, others soared well beyond their estimates. The sale average was in line with what we expected. The honesty and integrity that is synonymous with the Belzile name instilled buyer confidence.”
The 72-inch-tall “Armoire Crocodile” in exceptional polychrome paint featured a layered dentil cornice, deeply molded raised panels on the doors, two raised panels on each side, a shaped base, and eight recessed panels on the center stile. The yellow paint was in dramatic contrast with the deep blue found on the moldings, panel edges and lower rail.
The circa 1800-1825 Huron-Wendat Louis XIII armchair in old green paint from the Bastien family had slanted back posts that were topped with prominent wings and carved flat finials. The back had three slats, two of them cut in the capucine manner. A hand-cut sawtooth skirt supported the edge of the original pine seat; the rungs were hand skived.
Following are additional highlights from the auction, which featured 359 lots of 18th and 19th century Quebec furniture, folk art, sculpture, and Canadiana in a sale that grossed $351,079. More than 100 people attended the event live at the hotel, while 398 others registered to bid online (via LiveAuctioneers.com and MillerandMillerAuctions.com) and placed 7,900 bids. 99% of all lots were sold and 50% of the top 50 lots exceeded estimate.
An 18th century Quebec pine armoire with the rare feature of four Louis XIV hourglass shaped panels, 75-1/4 inches tall, nicknamed "the peanut", constructed with thick pine planks and hand hewn/pit sawn backboards, fetched $17,700; while an 18th century Joliette, Quebec bonnetiére (single door cupboard) with a shaped foot and paneled back, constructed of thick pine and having a natural surface with great patina, reached $11,800.
A rare, circa 1820 bow front, Quebec corner cupboard with a large single-door having an applied diamond motif and all-original blue paint, constructed with a base molding in the Louis XIII manner, with gorgeous patina, rose to $10,620. Also, a small, circa 1810-1825 storage cupboard having original slate grey paint, the Neoclassic influence in the applied molding on the panel and the tombstone (chapeau gendarme) cut-out base, made $5,015.
A circa 1880 exterior sculpture by Louis Jobin (1845-1928) of Joseph with the Christ child holding a globe, meticulously covered in lead-tin, 57 inches tall, realized $5,015. In the late 19th century in Quebec, it was Jobin who introduced the meticulous process of applying sheets of lead, copper and tin to sculpture designated expressly for outside use.
A bronze sculpture by Jean-Julien Bourgault (1910-1996) of a woman in the manner of an early ship’s figurehead, from Bourgault’s original 1978 pine sculpture titled Vent du Nord (The North Wind), the bronze #1 in a series of 15, cast at Fonderie d’Art d’Inverness, Quebec, in 1988, standing 20 inches tall (minus the base), changed hands for $4,130.
An early Ursuline crucifix on a stepped se with a sculpted corpus (Christ on the cross), having a head and body resembling religious carvings from the medieval period, 23 inches tall, finished at $4,720; while a late 19th century carved corpus in original paint, likely from a religious institution due to its quality and size, 43 inches tall, boasting great detail with the crown of thorns fashioned from a hawthorn branch, also brought $4,720.
An important early Bellechasse rocking chair with the two upper back slats having heart cut-outs while the lower slat has a capucine profile, boasting superb surface and great wear to the rockers from many years of use, achieved $5,015. Also, a two-tone stepback cupboard in untouched, original condition with the original paint, displaying great wear and patina, made in Papineauville, Quebec circa 1830, 76-1/2 inches tall, earned $4,425.
A circa 1830-1840 Quebec raised 12-panel armoire in as-found condition, with “waterfall” cornice and bracket base, all in old white paint over the original dark grey, the doors having three raised flush-mounted panels, garnered $5,900. Also, a circa 1825 Quebec armoire in as-found pristine condition, the red paint applied in the late 19th century over the original coral/salmon paint, 73 inches tall by 45-1/2 inches wide, commanded $4,720.
A late 18th century Quebec Louis XIII blanket chest in original grey and blue paint with a detailed base molding and the top having overlapping breadboard ends with a molded edge and affixed with forged snipe hinges, was sold to a determined bidder for $3,835.
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. has several auctions lined up for summer and fall. All are on a Saturday, with the exception of the Friday, June 9 Toys auction, and all are online-only, with pre-bidding open three weeks before each auction. They include Petroliana, Advertising & Coin-Op on June 10, Petroliana & Advertising on September 16, and Canadiana & Folk Art on October 7.
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. is always accepting quality consignments. The firm specializes in luxury watches, art, antiques, and high-value collectibles. To consign a single piece, an estate or a collection, they can be reached at (519) 573-3710 or email@example.com. To learn more about Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. and the firm’s upcoming auctions, visit www.millerandmillerauctions.com.