Marquis de Sade text pulled from auction, France declares it ‘national treasure’

Marquis de Sade

Portrait of Donatien Alphonse François de Sade by Charles Amédée Philippe van Loo. The drawing dates to 1760, when de Sade was nearly 20 years old. It’s the only known authentic portrait of the marquis.

PARIS (AP) – An original manuscript for the Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom has been withdrawn from a Paris auction after the French government declared it a “national treasure” and banned its export.

Auction house Aguttes said Tuesday the French culture ministry has granted the most valuable lots in the auction the rare treasure classification and proposed buying them.

Following the ministry’s decision, a court receiver allowed Aguttes to withdraw the top lots from Wednesday’s auction and to negotiate their eventual sales directly with the government.

In addition to the Sade’s 1785 explicit text, the withdrawn lots include the 1924 manuscript for the first Surrealist Manifesto by French writer Andre Breton. The lots had a combined value estimated in the multimillion-dollar range.

Donatien Alphone Francois de Sade was a French nobleman, politician, philosopher and writer who was born in Paris in 1740. He was best known for his erotic novels, short stories and plays. De Sade was incarcerated in various prisons and an insane asylum for about 32 years of his life, including 10 years spent in the Bastille. Many of his works were written in prison. He died in 1814 at age 74 in the Charenton Asylum.

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Auction Central News contributed to this report.

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