The Aguttes auction house has been assigned the task by the Commercial Court of inventorying, conserving and reinstating the works coming from Aristophil (decision of 5 october 2016). The High Court has also given Aguttes the responsibility for coordinating the sales of the jointly owned collections (decision of 16 March 2017). Advisers, experts and other auction houses will support the Maison Aguttes, to help achieve a successful dispersal of the Collections Aristophil to be auctioned at Drouot, Paris.



The Aristophil company, purchased artwork (old manuscripts, charters, incunabula, books, rare editions, letters, autographs, philately, drawings, paintings, photographs, lithographs, works of art, archaeology, geology, objects and memorabilia, documents, etc.) at auction and privately, and resold them either in parts or in complete lots. With its acquisitions, Aristophil created lots which were given a value. This value was neither fixed on the basis of a sale by auction, nor even by its result, but based on a new inside evaluation. Parts of lots and complete lots were then presented by brokers, usually for five years. The profitability resulted from the purchase and re-sale of these works to new members. In this way, the company attracted some 18,000 customers hoping to make large returns.
The company was put into liquidation and all the collections were sealed for more than two years.
In 2015, the judicial authorities launched a call for tenders to help resolve the Aristophil affair. Aguttes replied and was chosen by the Tribunal de Commerce, on 5 October 2016, to inventory, conserve and reinstate works coming from the company to their owners, as well as to sell Aristophil’s own goods.

On 16 March 2017, Aguttes was also appointed by the High Court to coordinate the sales of the Arisophil, to assist the administrator. As part of these two legal decisions, Aguttes has carried out the logistical operations involving the legal (or physical) transfer, sorting, inventory, conservation and reinstatement of the works to the identified owners.

It has also proposed an organization and a strategic plan for sales in the years to come. In this way, a part of the Collections Aristophil will be legally dispersed (goods of the liquidated Aristophil company), while another part will be voluntarily sold (either by their sole owners or on behalf of their joint owners, in agreement with the adminstrator of these latter.


A college of leading figures supervising the coherence of the sales, on the scientific and cultural levels:

Frédéric Mitterrand, by turns a cinema operator, TV producer, columnist and writer, documentary and film maker, and director of the Académie de France in Rome from 2008 to 2009. From 23 June 2009 to 16 May 2012, he was Minister of Culture and Communication.

Michel Maket, president of the SFEP (French Syndicate of Professional Experts in works of art and collector’s items) and vice-president of the CEDEA (European Confederation of Art Experts). An expert in modern pictures.

Didier Griffe, a former auctioneer, Expert at the Court of Appeals, Assessor of the CCE Douanière, former student of the French School of Gemmology, Vice-President of the SFEP(French Syndicate of Professional Experts in works of art and collector’s items)

Henri Vignes, a bookseller in the Latin Quarter, specializing in original editions and rare documents in the field of literature, is the president of the SLAM (National Union of Ancient and Modern Bookselling), which annually organizes the International Salon of Rare Books and Art Objects at the Grand Palais (in collaboration with the CNES, the National Chamber of Experts Specializing in art and collector’s objects.)


All the auctions of the Aristophil Collections will respect five criteria:

1) The theme (mentioned above)
2) Cross-disciplinarity
A wise association of works coming from different collections in order to permit an equity among owners.
3) Variety
A theme may be illustrated by books, letters, drawings, etc.
4) Accessibility
A range of prices for works known to the general public and other works more specialised.
5) Coherence
Separate lots based on contractual terms may be brought together, such as the 1er Manifeste du Surréalisme and the Poisson Soluble, for which it is the preface, written by André Breton.

The dispersal of the Collections Aristophil

The selection of top lots includes

These pivotal lots are striking for their mythical character. They harbinger the variety of themes and supports featured in this inaugural sale.

(2 LOTS)
SAINT-EXUPERY Antoine de (1900-1944)
The 16 mm Kodachrome film showing Antoine de Saint-Exupéry et Consuelo en bateau, Canada, Montreal, 1942.
This unknown film offers a totally unexpected vision of a happy Saint-Exupéry in the company of Consuelo, boating on a lake not far from Montreal.
The boat’s visitor’s book, signed by Saint-Exupéry and Consuelo, with a drawing of the Petit Prince (320×255 mm).
Saint-Exupéry left a nice memory in the boat’s visitor’s book: the Petit Prince himself, a year prior to his “birth”, on his feet, proud, and radiant, exclaiming: I’ll be back! The drawing is underlined by the signatures of Saint-Exupéry and Consuelo.
An outstanding archive. This film has never been seen before.

Many of Saint-Exupéry’s other drawings, letters and souvenirs will be present at the inaugural sale, forming a quintessential ensemble.

BALZAC Honoré de (1799-1850).
Signed original manuscript, “Ursule Mirouët” (1841)
An outstanding complete manuscript of a novel by Balzac, one of only two still in private hands.
Written in June-July 1841, the novel “Ursule Mirouët” was published in instalments in “Le Messager” between 25 August and 23 September 1841, in 21 chapters, before being published by Hippolyte Souverain in May 1842, in two volumes. In January 1843, it was republished in Volume 5 of “La Comédie Humaine” (Furne), at the beginning of the first volume of “Scènes de la vie de province”.
In his correspondence, Balzac described “Ursule Mirouët” as “the finest work” (5 January 1842), “the masterpiece, in my view, of the depiction of manners” (1 May 1842). Later adding: “Ursule Mirouët is the happy sister of Eugénie Grandet” (14 October 1842).
This manuscript, a rough draft, was used for the printing, as is shown by the names of the typographers written in the margins. It is written uninterruptedly, in brown ink, with a regular, fine and sloping hand, on just one side of a slightly bluish paper, with corrections made during the writing. There was a 6 cm. margin on the left, in which Balzac made some 300 additions and corrections, ranging from just one word to whole sentences, adding a reply, rounding off the description of a character, or adding a development.

François BOUCHER (Paris 1703–1770)
“Heads of two young women in profile”
Black stone, red chalk, pastel, and white highlights on grey paper. 27×32 cm
Probably with a collector in mind, Boucher borrowed the two nymph’s heads from the bottom right of his picture “Mercure confiant le jeune Bacchus aux nymphes de Nysa”, held at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.

SADE, Donatien-Alphonse-François, marquis de (1740-1814).Original manuscript, “Les 120 jours de Sodome ou l’école du libertinage”, 1785; a strip of 33 folios pasted end-to-end, forming a roll 12.10 metres in length, with a width of 11.3 cm, written first on one side, then on the other.
An extraordinary manuscript roll of the most scandalous of the texts of erotic literature.

It was in the Bastille, where he was transferred to on 29 February 1784, that Sade would copy out, on this amazing roll of paper, the drafts of “Les 120 journées de Sodome”, begun, it would seem, two years earlier. On two occasions Sade dated this manuscript roll: at the bottom of the front: “This strip was written in 20 evenings between 7 and 10 pm, and was finished this 12 7bre 1785”; and then at the very end: “This whole large strip was started on 22 8bre 1785 and finished in 37 days”; it was thus written between August and November 1785. The folios are delimited on each side by a thick brown ink line; some widths of paper bear their assemblage number; in the margin, Sade also wrote the number of the day of the first part; the folios are filled with a small, serried handwriting in brown ink; there are a few deletions and crossed out passages.

The novel is set at the end of Louis XIV’s reign, shortly before the regency. Sade first introduces at length the four main protagonists, wealthy libertine aristocrats; then their women. The plan of the “four scoundrels” involved not only indulging in every possible form of debauchery, but also, in order to arouse their lechery, to have recited to them (based on the model of the “Thousand and One Nights” and the “Decameron”) all the most extraordinary deviations of debauchery, by way of four experienced madams, each one with the task of reciting 150 passions, ranging from the simplest to the foulest of tortures and to murder during each of the four winter months during which all these people would live confined in Silling Castle, lost in the Black Forest. This novel is the “most gigantic catalogue of perversions”, to use Jean Paulhan’s words. “Never, in any period, in any literature, had anyone written anything so scandalous, so repulsive and so unbearable”, wrote Jean-Jacques Pauvert.

This roll, stored in a case and hidden between two stones, abandoned by Sade in his dungeon in the Bastille when he was suddenly taken from it on 2 July 1789 (twelve days before the fortress was taken) to be transferred to Charenton, was found in his cell by a certain Arnoux de Saint-Maximin, who sold it to the Villeneuve-Trans family. First published in 1904, in a very inaccurate way, by its new owner, the German psychiatrist and sexologist Iwan Bloch (under the pseudonym of Eugène Dühren), then acquired in 1929 by Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, the manuscript was entrusted to Maurice Heine, who produced a reference edition of it (1931-1935). When the De Noailles died, the roll passed to their daughter Nathalie. It was stolen in 1982 by the publisher Jean Grouet, who sold it illicitly to the Swiss bibliophile Gérard Nordmann. A legal battle ensued, waged by Carlo Perrone, the son of Nathalie de Noailles; unlike French law, Swiss law ratified Gérard Nordmann’s ownership of the manuscript. The manuscript was on loan for a while to the Bodmer Foundation in Geneva, then, after a transaction between the Nordmann family and Carlo Perrone, it was acquired in March 2014 by Aristophil, and found its way back to France.

QUINTE-CURCE, “Faiz et conquestes d’Alexandre”
[History of Alexander the Great]
Translated by Vasque de Lucène.
In French, an illuminated manuscript on paper and parchment.
Twelve large miniatures painted in grisaille and semi-grisaille, attributable to the Master of the Golden Fleece of Vienna and Copenhagen (with a miniature painted by the Master of grisaille decorated with fleur-de-lis?)
France, probably Lille, circa 1480.
Manuscript produced for a member of the Clèves-Ravenstein family.
The work titled “Historiarum Alexandri Magni Libri”, usually translated as “The History of Alexander the Great”, is attributed to Quinte-Curce; it is conserved in some 123 manuscripts. It is a biography of Alexander the Great in Latin. The work draws largely from the “History of Alexander” by Clitarchus.
This manuscript contains the French translation attributed to Vasque de Lucène. It is richly illuminated, and includes twelve large miniatures in grisaille, most of which may be attributed to a Flemish artist.

Rare documents of the famous ship.
Estimation 20 000 / 30 000 €

Candee Helen Churchill (1858-1949), American woman of letters and decorator
Original Manuscrit, The North Atlantic. Titanic
Outstanding firsthand testimony by a survivor of the shipwreck of the Titanic, a liner reputed to be unsinkable, on the night of the 14-15 April 1912.
The manuscript has 40 folios written with blue-green ink, in English.
Marked by one or two emphatic passages, the tale told by this first-class passenger, in her fifties, divorced, and a feminist, was one of the sources of inspiration for James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic, in which the features of the Rose character were based on Helen Candee.
The extremely legible manuscript includes instructions for line spacing and insertions of addenda, for the use of the typographers, as well as one or two sketches and notes crossed out.
The author devotes several pages to life on board the world’s most luxurious liner, including the ship’s pleasures and the carefree atmosphere on board, the quality of the passengers, and premonitory remarks made by several of them… She then describes the accident itself, how the ship capsized, and how she was saved, in a particularly moving report, paying tribute to the crew members and the many other passengers who perished at sea.

Manuscript “Le 1er Manifeste du Surréalisime”, by André Breton
This original manuscript with a very large number of corrections and addenda in André Breton’s serried style is indeed the ground-breaking document of the most significant literary and artistic movement of the 20th century. The manuscript has 21 pages, written in blue ink. It opens with a title page bearing the cover of the original edition cut out and pasted, with the mention
“Manuscrit” in André Breton’s hand, in red. A very large number of corrections and addenda. The first word “Preface” featuring in the manuscript is crossed out. André Breton chose as the title “Manifeste du Surréalisme” and in this choice it was his intent to draw up a report of the sessions of slumber, hypnosis and automatic writing carried out with his Surrealist companions from 1919 on, and thus define the theoretical principles meant to govern Surrealist writing. This extremely rare complete manuscript was the one used to print the “Manifeste du Surréalisme”. The work was published in October 1924 by Simon Kra at Editions du Sagittaire.
“Le 1er manifeste du surrealisme” is being presented with:
– The “Poisson Soluble” manuscript: 1 200 000 / 1 500 000 €
– The seven notebooks of the “Poisson Soluble”:
2 000 000 / 2 500 000 €
– “Le second manifeste du surréalisme»:
1 000 000 / 1 200 000 €
The whole forms a major ensemble brought together for the first time on the market.
800,000/1,000,000 €