At Galerie Kugel, excellence is the rule

parisdiaArt, Happy moments1 Comment

Automate clocks from the renaissance in Germany

Automat clocks from the Renaissance in Germany at Galerie Kugel are still working and eyes are rolling

There is still a magical Ali Baba cave in Paris, and it is called Galerie Kugel ! Every year, Nicolas and Alexis Kugel, who represent the fifth generation of these Russian antique dealers, surprise us with yet another theme for their precious objects : this year it is automat clocks with animals, and suddenly, on the half hour, they were all ringing!

This dog has moving eyes

This dog has moving eyes and a clock as necklace

Whether in gold bronze or in clay, these lions, elephants, monkeys or bears, were offered as diplomatic presents to Chinese emperors or European kings and were made mostly in the Free Imperial city of  Augsburg, Germany, between 1580 and 1640. These exceptional pieces form a collection of precious animals, which is unique in the world, and they are all for sale.

Gilt bronze automat clock with an elephant, AUGSBURG, circa 1580-1590 Attr. to Erasmus Pirenbrunner, © Hugues Dubois

Gilt bronze automat clock with an elephant, Augsburg, circa 1580-1590
Attr. to Erasmus Pirenbrunner, © Hugues Dubois

When Jacques Kugel emigrated to France in 1924, he brought with him silver and jewelry, collected by his parents and little by little, the antique dealer started buying paintings and furniture.

A Gobelins Fables de la Fontaine tapestry came fro the Rothschild's collections

A Gobelins Fables de la Fontaine tapestry came fro the Rothschild’s

The Kugels try to concentrate on exceptional pieces with a royal or princely provenance, and they keep their collections in warehouses, bringing them out only when they have a large group of treasures to show together. I don’t know how long it took them to assemble the thirty or so automats, but when you enter the salon of quai Anatole France, you have a shock ! the quality of the staging and each individual piece, are staggering.img_2372

What I like most about this place is that even though I will never be able to afford the 250 000€ clocks, I am welcomed with a big smile. At the opening, many pieces were already sold and everyone seemed happy ! Including the charming ladies who patiently inform you about what you see.

This painting made of hard stone, depicts a game of billiard in 1752

On the second floor, I discovered an 18 th century painting made of hard stones « le Jeu de billard » which enchanted me. In the staircase hung a tapestry of Fables de la Fontaine, 1725, from the Gobelins, which had belonged to Gustave and Elie de Rothschild. Animals again are the theme…


A bear with his master, gilt bronze

A bear with his Turkish master, gilt bronze, Augsburg, © Hugues Dubois

Everything in the house is exceptional and entrance is free until November 5 th, from 10.30 am to 7 pm. It is a fabulous experience, don’t miss it.

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One Comment on “At Galerie Kugel, excellence is the rule”

  1. Thank you, Laure, for letting us discover such exceptionnal pieces! It is also quite impressive to realize that the interest in the rest of the world was such in Augsburg in the XVIth and XVIIth centuries. De l’ouverture d’esprit de nos aînés !
    Amitiés, Isabelle

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