Who was Fernand Lafarge and why are we so interested in his art collection?

Fernand Lafarge was part of the Lafarge family, a successful French entrepreneurial business dynasty. In 1764, the patriarch of the family, Jean Lafarge, arrived in Amiens from his native Cantal to build an umbrella factory. The family business developed significantly throughout the 19th century with branches opening across Northern France and in the early 20th century leather goods were added to the mix.

New shops were actively developed by Joseph Lafarge until Joseph’s death in 1962. Then, in that same year, Joseph’s three sons – one of whom was Fernand Lafarge – took over the business. Fernand Lafarge chaired the first conglomerate merging France’s leading leather good companies, and on the side he developed the family’s art collection until his death in 2013.

Now, Fernand Lafarge’s art collection, which mainly comprises sculpture alongside some rare paintings, is being put up for auction at French house Artcurial on 27 March.

Let’s take a look at some of Lafarge’s pieces.

When it was unveiled to the public on 27 July 1869, the press took a huge stance against this J B Carpeaux sculpture and condemned the work for its unmoral, naked bodied farandole. A month later, the rage and fury continued and a bottle of ink was even thrown against the statue, remnants of which still remain today.

Undecided about the genius's sex, Carpeaux borrowed the healthy, svelte body from Sébastien Visat, a 20-year-old carpenter, and the bright smile from Princess Hélène de Racowitza.

This Head of Flora by Aristide Maillol belonged to Doctor Nicolau, a close friend of the artist. This is the second version known to date of this bust, the other is at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Acquired in the art trade in Amiens by Fernand Lafarge, this sculpture of The Arrest of Christ was probably an element of an altarpiece depicting the Passion of Christ. It was likely made in the second half of the 14th century.

The Fernand Lafarge Collection: A Tribute to Sculpture forms one of three sales taking place at Artcurial on 27 March, the others being Terracotta & Other Sculptures and Old Master & XIXth Century Art. To take advantage of all of these sales, be sure to search the entire catalogues.

Discover all lots at Artcurial directly on Barnebys