|Lot 16: Exposition abrégée du système...de Newton|
|Lot 17: Three plays by Voltaire performed at Cirey|
|Lot 3: Portrait of Emilie after Marianne Loir.|
|Lot 17: Abrégé de l'optique de mr Newton|
The purchaser was financier Gérard Lhéritier , president and founder of Aristophil, a company specialising in rare manuscripts and owner of the Musée des lettres et manuscrits, boulevard Saint-Germain, where the collection includes the Marquis de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom and Napoleon's wedding certificate. Despite a few qualms about private ownership, La Gazette des Délices for Winter 2012 pronounced itself pleased: French taxpayers had saved their euros, the manuscripts were kept together and the Bibliothèque nationale had been promised detailed descriptions. In March 2013 the manuscripts went on temporary exhibition; viewers were even furnished with a magnifying glass for detailed inspection. There was just the slight worry that operatives were on hand apparently offering the manuscripts in lots "for sale".......
Publicity video by Aristophil. Despite the slick production, this is a pretty poor effort (for instance, I think it was the poet J-B Rousseau, not Jean-Jacques who was the family house guest!)
The investigation is likely to be a long one. Currently the museum is still open (with a Valentine's Day exhibition) and the media fightback has begun with a "Soutenons Aristophil" website and Facebook page. All we can only hope for the long term is that Emilie's manuscripts stay safe and don't disappear again, this time into some creditor's bank vault....
Details of the sale
"Les manuscrits et souvenirs d'Emilie du Châtelet vendus pour 3,28 millions d'euros", L'Obs 29/10/12.
Finding the manuscripts
Andrew Brown, " 'Minerve dictait et j’écrivais':les archives Du Châtelet retrouvées" Cahiers Voltaire, 11 (2012), p.7-9.
Il faut sauver les archives de Voltaire, Le Dauphine.com, 28/09/12
€500 Million Ponzi Scheme Suspected at Paris Museum" Artnet, 20/11/14.