Enfilade

Masterpiece Online 2020, Panel Discussions

Posted in Art Market, lectures (to attend) by Editor on June 21, 2020

From the schedule:

Masterpiece Online, Panel Discussions
22–28 June 2020

Masterpiece Online showcases our exhibitors’ knowledge and passion, reproducing that sense of discovery that sparks new conversations at the fair. Join us for live panel discussions with leading cultural institutions, watch interviews and learn from experts, join live private views with friends, and buy works of art from Masterpiece exhibitors. Book your place at one of our live-streamed panel discussions with leading institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery, Design Museum, and Hong Kong Museum of Art. All talks are free to attend, and we encourage you to make a donation to support our cultural partners in these challenging times.

Broadly, Deeply, Passionately: Living with Collections
24 June 2020, 5pm BST (12pm EST)

Decorated rooms say one thing, while collected rooms say quite another. Join Mitchell Owens, the decorative arts editor of Architectural Digest, with scholar Justin McGuirk (Chief Curator, Design Museum) and designers Rose Heyman (Director / Founder Rose Uniacke) and Boris Vervoordt (Director, Axel Vervoordt) as they discuss the allure of interiors that celebrate personal connoisseurship over commonplace style.
• Moderator: Mitchell Owens (Decorative Arts Editor, Architectural Digest)
• Rose Uniacke (Director/Founder, Rose Uniacke)
• Justin McGuirk (Chief Curator, Design Museum)
• Boris Vervoordt (Director, Axel Vervoordt)

Register for this talk

Art and Experience in the Digital Era: Balancing the Virtual and the Physical
25 June 2020, 11am BST (6am EST)

How are museums and commercial galleries using technology to engage their audiences during the Covid-19 crisis? And in the aftermath of the pandemic, what strategies will they use to maintain that audience in a cash-strapped consumer culture that increasingly values experience above the appreciation and possession of individual objects?
• Moderator: Scott Reyburn (Journalist, The New York Times and The Art Newspaper)
• Rebecca Lyons (Director of Collections and Learning, Royal Academy of Arts)
• Helen Jacobsen (Senior Curator and Curator of French 18th-Century Decorative Arts, The Wallace Collection)
• Francis Sultana (HE Ambassador of Culture for Malta, Designer, and CEO, David Gill Gallery)

Register for this talk

Engaging Audiences, Old and New: How to Attract and Inspire Museum Visitors Today
25 June 2020, 5pm BST (12pm EST)

As museums face increased questions over their place and purpose in the 21st century, what initiatives have been put in place to expand their audiences? How best to strike a balance between reaching out to new visitors and keeping existing supporters onside? What lessons have been learnt from the lockdown and its forced move to virtual visiting? And what financial structures and support will enable museums to survive and thrive in truly challenging times? Melanie Gerlis, art market writer for the Financial Times, hosts leading figures from public and private institutions on both sides of Atlantic, Wolf Burchard (Associate Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Tristram Hunt (Director, V&A Museum) and Ian Wardropper (Director, The Frick Collection).
• Moderator: Melanie Gerlis (Art market writer, Financial Times)
• Wolf Burchard (Associate Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
• Tristram Hunt (Director, V&A Museum)
• Ian Wardropper (Director, The Frick Collection)

Register for this talk

Public, Private Delights: Sculpture Today
26 June 2020, 11am BST (6am EST)

What does sculpture mean to us today—be it public or private—and has its status changed in contemporary times?
• Moderator | Farah Nayeri (Journalist, The New York Times)
• Polly Bielecka (Gallery Director, Pangolin London)
• Simon Martin (Director, Pallant House Gallery)
• Zak Ové (Artist)

Register for this talk

Women Artists, Then and Now
26 June 2020, 5pm BST (12pm EST)

Examining the role of women in art from the Renaissance up until the present day. This talk, moderated by Katy Hessel (of @thegreatwomenartists Instagram and podcast), will speak to National Gallery curator, Letizia Treves, on staging shows of the women of the Baroque; gallerist Richard Saltoun who has established a reputation for promoting and exhibiting the work of female artists; Jo Baring, Director of the Ingram Collection, and Sarah Turner, Deputy Director of the Paul Mellon Centre, (both also of Sculpting Lives podcast); Corrie Jackson, Senior Curator for the Royal Bank of Canada art collection; and Zoé Whitley, Director, The Chisenhale Gallery, about the women who challenged and continue to challenge art history, and getting the recognition they so rightly deserve.
• Moderator: Katy Hessel (of @thegreatwomenartists Instagram and podcast)
• Jo Baring (Director, The Ingram Collection; co-host of the Sculpting Lives: Women & Sculpture podcast)
• Corrie Jackson (Senior Curator, Royal Bank of Canada art collection)
• Letizia Treves (The James and Sarah Sassoon Curator of Later Italian, Spanish, and French 17th-Century Paintings, The National Gallery, London)
• Richard Saltoun (Director, Richard Saltoun)
• Sarah Turner (Deputy Director for Research at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London; co-host of the Sculpting Lives: Women & Sculpture podcast)
• Zoé Whitley (Director, The Chisenhale Gallery)

Register for this talk

Collecting Pre-Contemporary Art Online: New Ways to Look, Learn, and Buy
27 June 2020, 11am BST (6am EST)

The coronavirus lockdown hit has forced us all to recalibrate how we view, collect and sell art as exhibitions, auctions and even art fairs have been forced online—and fast. It’s a steep learning curve for both buyers and sellers in all fields, but particularly for those in the traditionally analogue world of pre-contemporary art, where issues of provenance, authenticity and trust are all the more complex, and the audience perhaps less digitally savvy. Our panel of experts will discuss the challenge of becoming ‘digital connoisseurs’, taking in the latest developments, good and bad, in the shift to online, the questions to ask and pitfalls to avoid when buying historical art via jpegs, and the big question of whether you should you ever buy a work sight unseen, even now?
• Moderator: Anna Brady (Art Market Editor, The Art Newspaper)
• Katrin Bellinger (Dealer and Old Master drawings collector)
• Philip Hewat-Jaboor (Chairman, Masterpiece)
• Philip Mould (Art dealer, writer and broadcaster)
• Orlando Rock (Chairman, Christie’s UK)

Register for this talk

Museums and Mentors, Scholarship and Friendship: Stories from the World of Fine Ceramics
27 June 2020, 5pm BST (12pm EST)

The French Porcelain Society has always valued the scholarship and insight of dealers who contribute so much to its publications, events, and lectures. Martin P. Levy of H. Blairman & Sons, leads a discussion on the influence of dealers past and present with four long–standing European ceramics exhibitors at Masterpiece London: Michele Beiny, Errol Manners, Adrian Sassoon, and John Whitehead. Their stories speak of inspirational and sometimes eccentric mentors: museum curators, collectors, auctioneers, and forebears in the antiques trade. Join us for some thought-provoking conversations on the art of dealing.
• Moderator: Martin Levy (Director, H. Blairman & Sons Ltd)
• Michele Beiny Harkins (Director, Michele Beiny)
• Errol Manners (Director, E&H Manners)
• Adrian Sassoon (Director, Adrian Sassoon)
• John Whitehead (Art dealer, lecturer, and writer)

Register for this talk

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Note (added 21 June 2020) — The original version of this posting omitted information for the June 26 sculpture session.

At Auction | Horse Racing Tickets

Posted in Art Market by Editor on May 12, 2020

Lot 276: Northumberland, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Newcastle Grand Stand, 1800, silver, unsigned, grandstand, rev. horse standing right, held by a jockey, named (His Grace the Duke of Northumberland), 31mm, 15.05g (W 1545; D & W 323/17; cf. DNW 157, 1319-20). Pierced for suspension, very fine and toned, very rare, estimate: £300–400.

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Via Art Daily (11 May 2020) . . .

Tokens, Tickets and Passes, Historical Medals — Online Auction
Dix Noonan Webb, London, 26 May 2020

International coins, medals, banknotes, and jewellery specialists Dix Noonan Webb, are encouraging racing enthusiasts to take a gamble on a group of 18th- and 19th-century horse racing tickets and passes (lots 274–294) that will be offered in a live online auction in their sale of Tokens and Historical Medals on Tuesday, 26 May 2020 at 11am on their website.

The collection comprises 20 lots, and estimates range from £40 to £400. Many of the pieces are engraved with names of nobility and well-known figures in the horseracing fraternity such as the Duke of Northumberland (Alnwick Castle); Hon. Egremont Lascelles (Harewood House); Major John St Leger; Henry Fiennes Pelham Clinton, (2nd Duke of Newcastle); the Duke of Portland and Lord Dundas.

As Peter Preston-Morley, Specialist and Associate Director, Dix Noonan Webb, commented: “We are very pleased to be offering this fascinating group of early tokens relating to horseracing—right now, when there’s no racing taking place, it is a perfect opportunity to take a gamble on these!”

The collection, from several different owners, includes pieces dating from throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Among the highlights is a very rare silver example depicting the Newcastle Grand Stand that belonged to His Grace the Duke of Northumberland. Lt-General Hugh Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland (1742–1817), acceded to the title in 1786, and after an illustrious military career, in later life, he became one of the richest men in England (estimate: £300–400). There is a pair of ivory admission tokens to the Ladies Stand at Doncaster bearing the name Honble. Egremont Lascelles. Lascelles, who lived at Harewood, was a prominent figure at race meetings in Yorkshire from the late 1840s until the late 1870s and his pair of tokens, for him and his wife, is estimated at £300–400.

Trinity Fine Art Offers Ricci’s Lapiths and Centaurs at TEFAF

Posted in Art Market by Editor on March 2, 2020

Sebastiano Ricci, The Battle of the Lapiths and the Centaurs, early eighteenth century, oil on canvas, 63 × 76 cm (Offered at TEFAF Maastricht 2020 by Trinity Fine Art for approximately one million euros).

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From the press release, via Art Daily (28 February 2020). . .

One of the highlights of TEFAF Maastricht 2020 (7–15 March) will be an extremely rare work by Sebastiano Ricci: The Battle of the Lapiths and the Centaurs, which has been rediscovered after being lost for 60 years. Sebastiano Ricci (1659–1734) revitalised Venetian painting at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and his work marked the transition between the Baroque and Rococo styles. He took the rich colours and luminosity of Veronese and further transformed it by his looser, more airy and spontaneously decorative style always shot through with a clear Venetian light, all traits he passed down in turn to Tiepolo. Ricci was widely travelled, since as one of the main exponents of the Rococo style he was called to many European courts that wished to draw on his talents. He was in France—where he became a close friend of Watteau—in Austria—where he was summoned by Emperor Joseph I to decorate the palace of Schönbrunn, and in England—where he executed a series of large canvases for the newly constructed Burlington House and also sold works to King George III.

Ricci’s work is exceptionally rare on the art market, since his best paintings—allegorical and biblical paintings and frescos of significant dimensions—are already contained in public collections, many of them since the eighteenth century. The works he made for Lord Burlington are now in the Royal Academy, London, and those acquired by King George III are at the Royal Collection, London. Those in the Hermitage have been there since the eighteenth century as have those in the Liechtenstein collection, acquired in 1819; and then there are the many frescos and ceilings in Italian palazzi and churches.

The present monumental work can be dated to the early eighteenth century at which time Ricci’s work displayed a close affinity with that of the Genoese painter, Alessandro Magnasco. It shows Ricci at the height of his powers of composition and as a colourist in this depiction of the story of the Lapiths and Centaurs taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which was a popular choice from the Renaissance onwards for both artists and their humanist patrons since it symbolised both the victory of civilisation over barbarity and intellect triumphing over lust. It also has the added interest of being a collaborative work between Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, the former’s nephew, who is credited with executing many of the background details such as architectural elements and trees.

This work is to be offered by Trinity Fine Art at TEFAF Maastricht 2020, with an asking price of around one million euros. Established in 1984, Trinity Fine Art has earned a reputation as a leading dealer and consultant, offering exceptional works of art and specialising in master paintings, sculpture, and works of art from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. Its clients include many of the world’s major museums as well as most leading private collections.

At Sotheby’s | 1794 Charter for America’s First African Free School

Posted in Art Market by Editor on February 28, 2020

Press release, via Art Daily (27 February 2020). . .

Sotheby’s announced today that the Books & Manuscripts department will offer the 1794 land indenture for the use and benefit of New York City’s African Free School—founded by Founding Fathers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and others—marking the establishment of the first such school in America. Making its auction debut at Sotheby’s 24 June Books & Manuscripts sale in New York, the document is estimated to achieve between $250,000 and $350,000. The indenture will be on public view at Sotheby’s New York galleries through 29 February, coinciding with the final week of Black History Month and showcase this integral piece of American civil rights history to the public.

Richard Austin, Head of Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department in New York, commented: “We are thrilled to offer such a unique and historically important document in our upcoming June sale. The African Free School was an amazing symbol of the liberal democratic principles espoused by the country’s framers, and was a truly progressive institution at the time. To highlight the unprecedented achievement of the school and display the document in our galleries during Black History Month is an honor and we hope it will inspire others to reflect on the course of American history and social equality.”

Established by the New York Manumission Society—which was formed in 1785 by some of New York’s most elite and influential citizens, including John Jay and Alexander Hamilton—the African Free School was created with the aim, as they perceived it, of educating black children so that they might take their place as equals to white American citizens. As the present indenture states, the school was formed “for the humane and charitable purpose of Educating negro Children to the end that they may become good and useful Citizens of the State.” The mission of the Manumission Society in forming the school was to validate the tenet set forth in the Declaration of Independence just a few years before that “all men are created equal.” The Society also felt that education was an essential element in creating a populace capable of sustaining and furthering a democracy.

In addition to Hamilton and Jay, the New York Manumission Society counted luminaries as George Clinton, John Murray, Melancton Smith, and James Duane among its founding members. At a time when slavery was integral to the economic expansion in New York and America, these Founding Fathers and others began their mission of abolishing slavery in the state of New York by protesting the relatively common practice of kidnapping black New Yorkers—slaves and free men and women alike—in order to sell them into servitude elsewhere. The Society also provided legal assistance to free and enslaved blacks who were being abused, and in 1785 successfully lobbied for a law prohibiting the sale of imported slaves in the state of New York—before the state passed a gradual emancipation law in 1799. Slavery was officially abolished in New York State on July 4, 1827.

The African Free School was instituted on 2 November 1787, but was not built until 22 July 1794. Upon the land documented in the present indenture, a single-room schoolhouse was erected in lower Manhattan that would house around forty students, the majority of whom were the children of slaves. The members of the Manumission Society raised funds—or, in many instances, provided the funds themselves—for teachers’ salaries, supplies, and, eventually, for the creation of new buildings required to house the growing student population. In 1809, the trustees of the school hired Charles Andrews, and under his ardent leadership the school experienced significant expansion, with enrollment reaching 700 students by the end of his tenure.

By 1835, the African Free School model proved so successful that a total of seven schools were established throughout the city, which were then absorbed into the New York City public school system. By that time, the African Free School of New York had educated thousands of children, many of whom went on to become prominent abolitionists, artists, and entrepreneurs.

At Christie’s | Americana Week 2020

Posted in Art Market by Editor on December 27, 2019

Joshua Johnson (ca.1763–after 1824), A Pair of Portraits: Boy with Squirrel and Girl with Dog, oil on canvas, 30 × 24 inches. Lot 219: estimate, 100,000–150,000. Related paintings by Johnson date from around 1800 to 1805.

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From the press release, via Art Daily (22 December 2019) . . .

Christie’s announces Americana Week 2020, a series of auctions, viewings, and events, to be held January 11–24. The week of sales is comprised of Outsider Art on January 17; Chinese Export Art Featuring the Tibor Collection, Part II on January 23; and Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver on January 24.

Object highlights across the week include a majestic composition by Edward Hicks Peaceable Kingdom ($1,500,000–3,500,000), The Gould Family Queen Anne Carved Walnut High Chest-of-Drawers, Newport, 1750–70 ($300,000–400,000), Bill Traylor’s Man on White, Woman on Red / Man with Black Dog (double-sided) ($200,000–400,000) from the Collection of Alice Walker, a double-sided work by Henry Darger Untitled (188/189), double sided ($400,000–600,000), and notable Outsider Art works from The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation. Works of rarity and fine craftsmanship include a pair of Chinese export porcelain ‘soldier’ vases and covers, early Qianlong Period, ca. 1740 ($100,000–150,000) and an important American silver, gold, and enamel vase by Louis Comfort Tiffany from 1915 ($100,000–150,000).

Americana Week 2020 will offer over a curation of more than 560 lots across the three live auctions. Viewings begin with the Outsider Art sale opening on 11 January at our Rockefeller Center galleries with the remaining two auctions, Chinese Export Art and Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver opening on 15 January. In conjunction with the sales, Christie’s will host the annual Eric M. Wunsch Award for Excellence in the American Arts on Wednesday, January 22 at 6pm honoring Laura Beach, Lita Solis-Cohen, and Mira Nakashima, as well as a Christie’s Lates event on Wednesday, January 15 combining a preview of the auctions, music, and specialist talks.

Outsider Art (Sale 17860)
Christie’s New York, 17 January 2020

On January 17 Christie’s will offer 130 lots of Outsider Art featuring rare and important masterpieces from the category’s top artists, including Bill Traylor, William Edmonson, Henry Darger, Thornton Dial and Martin Ramirez, among others.

Chinese Export Art Featuring the Tibor Collection, Part II, (Sale 18087)
Christie’s New York, 23 January 2020

Chinese Export Art Featuring the Tibor Collection, Part II, taking place in New York on January 24th, presents 166 lots of porcelain and paintings made for the great commerce between China and the West in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The variety on offer includes blue and white, famille verte, famille rose, armorial pieces, and rare European subjects. The sale is led by a rich assortment from the Tibor Collection, which encompasses every category of Chinese export porcelain—from small, charming teawares to massive pairs of important jars—gathered from Latin America, Europe, and the U.S. The collector was drawn to figure and animal models, including lifelike Chinese porcelain birds, pairs of pups to mythical beasts, and amusing packs of blanc de chine foo lions.

Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver (Sale 17810)
Christie’s New York, 24 January 2020

The Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver sale on January 24 includes an exceptional selection of 267 lots. The top lot of American Week is a magnificent Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks ($1,500,000–3,500,000), a ‘Late Kingdom’ masterpiece made at the height of the artist’s career and one of the most successful examples of his famous subject. This example differs in minor details to an example now at Colonial Williamsburg and was described by Hicks as “one of the best I ever done.” The significant selection of Folk Art includes a pair of vividly colored and exquisitely detailed portraits by Joshua Johnson: Boy with Squirrel and Girl with Dog (Lot 219, $100,000–150,000); an exquisite painting of two steamers by James Bard, The San Rafael ($50,000–80,000); and an iconic portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart (Lot 291, $200,000–300,000). A group of 11 cigar store figures from the collection of Gary Herman Dubnoff is led by a carved and polychrome paint-decorated Cigar Store Figure Of ‘Punch’ possibly from the workshop of Samuel Anderson Robb (1851–1928), New York, late 19th century ($70,000–90,000).

Important furniture highlights from distinguished collections include the Gould Family Queen Anne Carved Walnut Chest-of Drawers, Newport, 1750–70, from The Wunsch Americana Foundation, Inc. (Lot 296, $300,000–400,000); and from the collection of Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr. is a Queen Anne Walnut Tall-Case Clock, ca. 1740, with a dial signed by William Claggett ($30,000–50,000), and the Tillinghast Family Pair of Queen Anne Walnut Side Chairs, possibly by John Goddard, Newport, 1760–70 (two pairs presented in two lots, each estimated at $15,000–$25,000).

The sale features an impressive group of American silver with early works by Paul Revere II and iconic creations by Tiffany & Co. including a silver, gold, and enamel vase by Louis Comfort Tiffany, which was exhibited at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco ($100,000–150,000), and parcel-gilt silver and enamel musical carousel designed by Gene Moore, ca. 1990 ($50,000–80,000). Additional highlights include a pair of Martele silver vases by Gorham Mfg. Co. for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle ($10,000–15,000) and an important silver caudle cup, by Jurian Blanck Jr., New York, ca. 1680 ($20,000–30,000).

London Art Week Winter 2019

Posted in Art Market by Editor on November 23, 2019

From the press release:

London Art Week Winter
London, 1–6 December 2019

The galleries and auction houses of London Art Week throw open their doors for the third iteration of LAW Winter, from Sunday 1 to Friday 6 December 2019. Thirty-two special exhibitions and Old Master sales offer millennia of art at locations throughout Mayfair and St. James’s. Whilst the emphasis is on pre-contemporary works, art on display dates back as far as the days of ancient Greece and Rome through to the present time.

London Art Week is a wonderful excuse for collectors, curators and art lovers to explore many of the capital’s most illustrious commercial art galleries and spaces, and enjoy events and talks. All the works displayed are for sale, with prices starting below £1,000, and the expert dealers are on hand to share their knowledge. Like visiting a series of mini museums, following the London Art Week Winter 2019 map (drawn by artist Adam Dant) reveals rarely-seen medieval art from Spain, ‘giant leaf’ renaissance tapestries inspired by exotic plants of the New World, ground-breaking female artists of the 20th century, art influenced by the orient, and works by famous ‘blue chip’ artists of the 17th to 20th centuries. . . .

The ‘Bleu Celeste’ broth-bowl and cover with stand (Vincennes, 1755), one of only three known examples, is offered by Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd, in connection with their exhibition Ottoman Patronage and European Merchandise: Works of Art from Turkey and France, 1530–1820 (the catalogue is available here).

The full LAW press release, with additional highlights is available here»

 

At Bonhams | Fine European Ceramics

Posted in Art Market by Editor on November 19, 2019

Pair of Sèvres bottle coolers (Seaux à bouteille) from a service for Madame du Barry, ca. 1770, each side reserved with a gilt-edged circular medallion depicting a seated putto in a landscape with attributes of Music, Poetry, War, and Peace–with the putto emblematic of Poetry holding a scroll with the inscription “Ode sur le mariage de M le Dauphin. le 16 May 1770” (Ode on the marriage of the Dauphin. the 16 May 1770).

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Press release, via Art Daily, for the sale at Bonhams:

Fine European Ceramics
Bonhams, London, 4 December 2019

An exceptionally rare pair of Sèvres bottle coolers from a service commissioned by Madame du Barry, the final maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XV, will be offered at Bonhams Fine European Ceramics sale in London on Wednesday, 4 December (lot 114). The pair is estimated at £60,000–80,000.

Madame du Barry (1743–1793) rose from humble origins as the illegitimate daughter of a seamstress to become the last, and with Madame de Pompadour, the greatest of the maîtresses-en-titre of Louis XV (The title refers to the chief mistress of the French Kings who enjoyed a semi-official position at court). Famed for her beauty among the ranks of high society courtesans, she caught the eye of Louis XV in 1768. The King procured a title for her through an arranged marriage with Comte Guillaume du Barry, and in 1769 she was officially presented to the court of Versailles. From then on she was regarded as the maîtresse-en-titre. Louis installed her in the Château de Louveciennes and in a suite of apartments directly below his own in Versailles itself. He also took the unusual step of including her in the private family gathering on the eve of the wedding of his son, the Dauphin and future Louis XVI, to Marie Antoinette.

The service was purchased by Madame du Barry in September 1770. Consisting of only 39 expensive and opulent pieces it was clearly intended as a status symbol, its use confined to intimate suppers with influential figures at court. An ode to the marriage of the Dauphin to Marie Antoinette inscribed on the coolers, can be interpreted as an attempt to curry favour and further cement her position at court. On Louis XV’s death in May 1774, du Barry was banished from court—Marie Antoinette famously disapproved of her, and for many years refused to acknowledge her presence. She eventually returned to Louveciennes, where she lived until her arrest in 1793 during the French Revolution. She was executed in December that year.

Bonhams Head of European Ceramics, Nette Megens said, “Pieces from this very select service made for Madame du Barry hardly ever appear on the market. There were only three bottle coolers in the service, and this pair offers collectors with a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Lot 42 — Meissen silver-gilt mounted tankard with Chinoiserie decoration, ca. 1723–24.

Other highlights in the sale include:

Lot 117 — A large Berlin porcelain vase given to Sir Andrew Buchanan by the King of Prussia, ca. 1859 (estimate £25,000–30,000). Distinguished 19th-century Scottish diplomat Sir Andrew Buchanan had an unusually wide-ranging career, and earned the gratitude not only of the British government, but also of the nations in which he served. The King of Prussia presented him with the magnificent Berlin vase; and the Danish king Frederick VII gave him a service of 18 plates by the Royal Copenhagen factory, with scenes after famous designs by Berthel Thorvaldsen. These are also in the sale (lot 121) , estimated at £10,000–15,000.

Lot 42 — A rare Meissen silver-gilt mounted tankard with Chinoiserie decoration, ca. 1723–24 (estimate £20,000–30,000). This piece is from private European collection and shows the very best of chinoiserie painting and gilding on early Meissen porcelain.

Lot 105 — A Nymphenburg Commedia dell’Arte figure of Mezzetin dressed as a Harlequin, ca. 1760–65 (estimate: £30,000–50,000). This figure is traditionally paired with another Commedia dell’Arte figure, Lalage, who holds a bowl and a spoon, ready to feed the ‘infant’ in Mezzetin’s arms (actually a monkey dressed as a baby).

At Sotheby’s | Canaletto Drawing Sets New Auction Record

Posted in Art Market by Editor on July 13, 2019

Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto (1697–1768), The Presentation of the Doge in San Marco, ca. 1766–67, pen and brown ink and three shades of grey wash, heightened with touches of (partly oxidised) white over black chalk, within original brown ink framing lines, 38 × 55 cm.

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From the press release (and the catalogue entry), via Art Daily:

On 3 July 2019, at Sotheby’s Old Master and British Works on Paper Sale (L19040), a rare drawing by Canaletto (Lot 338) realised £3.1m/ $3.9m, setting a new auction record for a drawing by the artist. A superbly preserved pen and brown ink drawing, The Presentation of the Doge in San Marco belongs to a highly original series of twelve depictions of the ceremonies and festival of Doges, the Feste Ducali, the majority of which now reside in museums around the world. The drawing is a masterpiece in the art of perspective and, though unusual in the artist’s canon of work, is definitive of his genius.

Imposing in scale and composition, totally engaging in terms of narrative, and brilliantly accomplished in its virtuosic lighting and handling of the media, this superbly preserved drawing ranks among the greatest that Canaletto (1697–1768) ever made. It belongs to a highly original series of twelve depictions of the ceremonies and festivals of the Doges, the Feste Ducali, conceived in the first instance as drawings, but made specifically to be engraved. Ten of the drawings are known today—four of them in the British Museum, two in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the remainder elsewhere [1]. This is only the second drawing from this extraordinary series to appear at auction since 1974, when two were offered for sale at Sotheby’s, from the collection of Eva, Countess of Rosebery [2].

Though Canaletto’s drawings and paintings are often very accurate renderings of specific locations—frequently made, one would assume, at the request of one of the artist’s illustrious noble patrons—images like these of actual historical events are relatively rare in his work. Yet he clearly relished the opportunities offered by the subjects of this series of depictions of ceremonies and pageants—fundamental to the Venetian spirit—and the compositions that he produced for this series are among his most original and inventive. In this work, the first in the series, we see the newly elected Doge being presented to the crowds for the first time in the grandiose interior of Saint Mark’s Basilica. Or rather, we see what is clearly an important ceremony going on, and somewhere in the middle of it we know the Doge, and this important moment, is to be found. Yet in fact, it is not the Doge himself and his presentation that is the subject here; it is the famous and elaborate interior of St. Mark’s, it is Venice, her life, and her people. As Peter Kerber so aptly wrote in the catalogue of the recent Getty Museum exhibition on depictions of historical moments in the 18th century, “The Doge is but a tiny figure… the true protagonist of this and the other depictions in the series is the Serene Republic, embodied by its rituals and traditions” [3].

Drawing, perhaps, on what he had learned early in life from his theatrical scene-designer father, Canaletto has here constructed his composition so as to maximise the impact and drama of the scene. Both in scale and in compositional complexity, this is one of the most ambitious of all the artist’s drawings, and it is highly unusual in being an interior scene. Perhaps understandably, given how central light and water clearly were to Canaletto’s art, he painted only a tiny handful of interior scenes, and almost all of those depict the rich and mysterious interior of St. Mark’s, with its abundant gilded mosaics and flickering light effects (the other interior that Canaletto painted, twice, was that of the Ranaleagh Rotunda in London) [4]. Two paintings, one of them part of the unrivalled collection of Canaletto’s works amassed by Consul Joseph Smith, and subsequently sold to King George III, the other in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, are views taken from much the same location as the present drawing, though slightly further to the right [5]. A third painting, also in the Royal Collection, is a view from the south transept towards the north, across the pulpit [6]. Canaletto used the latter viewpoint in making at least three drawings, one of them the very moving, highly finished drawing in Hamburg, on which the artist wrote, with feeling, that he had made it at the age of 68, without using his glasses, in the year 1766–67—the same moment, late in his career, when he executed the present work. A much sketchier drawing in the Robert Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art shows a small detail of the view seen here [8]. Otherwise, his only significant drawings of interiors seem to be the scene depicting The Doge giving thanks to the Maggior Consiglio in the same series as the present work (British Museum) [9], and the Interior of a Circular Building, in a private collection [10].

Canaletto was fascinated by the captivating atmosphere and light effects to be found in the interior of St. Mark’s, and the artist has here maximised the theatrical potential of his subject, using the deep recession and dramatic contrasts of light and shade within the famous church’s elaborate nave to the greatest possible effect, and filling it with an infinite variety of animated figures, so eager to see the proceedings that they have to be held back by ushers with sticks. More figures fill the galleries above the aisle arcades, teetering perilously over the long drop down to the floor below. All these figures are brilliantly rendered with minimalist penstrokes and vibrant highlights, whose motion the artist has hardly managed to arrest. You can almost hear the hubbub of excited conversation. Everything in this wonderfully rich image speaks of an essentially Venetian wit and lightness of being, from the brilliance of the architecture and the lighting to the animation of the endlessly varied figures, who seem about to step onto the stage for a popular theatre production.

The exact origin and chronology of this joy-filled series of drawings is unclear, but they surely originate from a major commission, seemingly the last such instruction that Canaletto received. The compositions exist in the form of drawings by Canaletto, prints by Giovanni Battista Brustolon which credit the designs to Canaletto, and paintings by Guardi, as well as through various other painted and drawn copies. This has given rise, over the years, to much discussion of which set of images came first and whether there were originally also paintings of these subjects by Canaletto, but the consensus is now that the initial commission was for Canaletto to produce drawings that would then be engraved by Brustolon, and that subsequently, probably around 1775, Guardi was asked to make a series of paintings, now in the collections of the Louvre, based on these prints [11]. Eight of the prints were announced for sale—though not yet actually printed—by the publisher, Lodovico Furlanetto, in March 1766, and four months later, in July, he obtained permission to extend the series to twelve plates [12]. There is no way of knowing exactly how much earlier than this the drawings were made, but one of them, The Doge Attends the Giovedi Grasso Festival in the Piazzetta, now in Washington [13], includes the arms of the Doge Alvise Mocenigo IV, who was elected in 1763; so it seems reasonable to assume that the drawings were all made some time between then and 1766, and in the case of those compositions that show events specific to the election of the Doge, rather than annual festivities, that they were based on Canaletto’s first hand observation of the festivities following the election of 1763.

Though the full series of the Feste Ducali prints consists of twelve compositions, drawings by Canaletto are only known for ten of them. These ten sheets were discovered in a bookseller’s in Venice (very probably the premises of the publisher Furlanetto himself), by Sir Richard Colt Hoare sometime between 1787 and 1789, when the dealer Giovanni Maria Sasso described them to Sir Abraham Hume, noting that they were as fine as any paintings [14]. Hoare proudly took the ten drawings back to Stourhead, in Wiltshire, where for the next century or so they were hung, as a set, over a fireplace in the library; a delightful watercolour, executed around 1808–13 by Francis Nicholson (1753–1844), shows the interior of the library, with Richard Colt Hoare seated at a table [15]. (The library must, however, have been kept very dark, as the drawings remain even today in outstandingly good, fresh condition.) In 1883, much of the contents of Stourhead were dispersed at auction, and the Canalettos were included in that sale, but this drawing and one other [16] were bought back by a family member, thereby remaining in the hands of the Hoare family until sold to the present owner a few years ago. The drawing has therefore only changed hands three times since its creation and has not been seen on the auction market since 1883.

Although the series of drawings to which this work belongs was executed late in Canaletto’s career (no dated work is known from after 1766–67, and he died only two years later), they are none the less all full of the vibrant, optimistic energy of the artist’s drawings from much earlier periods, yet given an added resonance by the historical subject-matter that ostensibly provides the focus for each scene. As already mentioned, although Canaletto did occasionally depict real historical events, as in the splendid painting of around 1735, The Doge Visiting the Church and Scuola di San Rocco, in the National Gallery, London [18], the vast majority of his paintings and drawings—even the most specifically topographical—are not linked to any particular moment. Indeed, the narrative content in this series of the festivals of the Doges is unparalleled in any other project undertaken by the artist, but the application of his extraordinary pictorial skills to this somewhat unfamiliar type of composition simply serves to add yet more layers of potential excitement and satisfaction for the viewer. All the visual riches of more typical masterpieces such as the capriccio Terrace and Loggia of a Palace on the Lagoon in the Royal Collection (a star of the recent Canaletto exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery, London [19]) are also abundantly present in the drawing now under discussion, but here they are interacting in a wonderful way with another, entirely different, realm of content and expression.

It is hard to imagine a more total expression of the essence of Canaletto’s genius as a draughtsman than this extraordinary drawing, which transports us to the very heart of 18th-century Venice, in all its glory, wit, and mystery. That it was loved and cherished for so long by one of the greatest families of English cognoscenti is the final piece in the jigsaw of elements that together make this by one of the two most important drawings by Canaletto to have come to the market in recent decades—and one of the most illuminating and enlightening, as well as one of the most visually exciting and satisfying, that he ever made.

Earlier in the sale, a newly-discovered 16th-century work by Rosso Fiorentino sold for £471,000 / $592,047, also setting a new record for a work on paper by the Italian Mannerist. Long thought lost, The Visitation is an extremely rare example of a chalk drawing by Rosso and the first compositional study by the artist to appear on the market for half a century. Although Rosso must have executed many drawings in his lifetime, almost all of his graphic works have been lost over the centuries and this work adds significantly to the understanding of the working method of an artist known for his eccentricity, and expressive, unconventional pictorial style.

1. W. G. Constable and J. G. Links, Canaletto: Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697–1768), 3rd edition, (Oxford, 1989), vol. II, pp. 525–32, nos. 630–39.
2. Constable/Links nos. 636 and 637, sold, London, Sotheby’s, 11 December 1974, lots 10 and 11, and no. 632, sold, London, Sotheby’s, 5 July 2017, lot 44.
3. Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe, exhibition catalogue (Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum/Minneapolis Institute of Art/Cleveland Museum of Art, 2017–18), p. 15.
4. One of these paintings, dating from 1754, is in the National Gallery, London, the other in a private collection; see Constable/Links, nos. 420 and 421.
5. Constable/Links, nos. 79 and 78 respectively.
6. Ibid., no. 77.
7. Ibid., no. 558.
8. Ibid., no. 561.
9. London, British Museum, inv. 1910,0212.20, Constable/Links, no. 63.
10. Not in Constable/Links, but included by Alessandro Bettagno, in the 1982 exhibition, Canaletto: Disegni-Dipinti-Incisioni, at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, no. 73.
11. The twelve paintings by Guardi are all in the collections of the Louvre, but three of them are on deposit in museums elsewhere (in Brussels, Grenoble and Nantes).
12. Constable/Links, pp. 525–26, citing earlier sources.
13. Ibid, no. 636.
14. Ibid, p. 527.
15. In the collection of the National Trust, inv. 730813.
16. Ibid, no. 632.
17. The latest known dated drawing is the view of the interior of St. Mark’s, Venice, now in the Hamburg Kunsthalle; Constable/Links no. 558.
18. Inv. no. NG937.
19. Constable/Links, no. 821; Rosie Razzall and Lucy Whitaker, Canaletto & the Art of Venice, exhibition catalogue (London, The Queen’s Gallery, 2017), no. 138.

At Sotheby’s | Treasures from Chatsworth: The Exhibition

Posted in Art Market, exhibitions by Editor on June 28, 2019

Thomas Smith, View of Chatsworth from the Southwest, 1740–44, oil on canvas
(Chatwsorth)

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From Chatsworth:

Treasures from Chatsworth: The Exhibition
Sotheby’s New York, 28 June — 18 September 2019

Highlights from the Devonshire Collection have made their way to New York as part of Sotheby’s Treasures from Chatsworth: The Exhibition, open from 28 June to 18 September 2019 at Sotheby’s New York. Forty-three masterworks were selected to represent the remarkable breadth of the Devonshire Collection—fine art from Rembrandt van Rijn to Lucian Freud, furniture and decorative objects from the 16th century to 21st-century design, and exceptional jewels, garments, and archival materials commemorating historic occasions will all be on view.

Coinciding with Sotheby’s 275th anniversary, as well as the opening of the expanded and reimagined New York galleries, Treasures from Chatsworth is designed by the award-winning creative director David Korins, whose work includes the set designs for the Broadway musical phenomena Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, as well as past Sotheby’s exhibitions.

Presenting Treasures from Chatsworth in America is a step towards realising our ambition to share the Devonshire Collection with the world and a wonderful opportunity to engage new audiences with the stories of Chatsworth and the work of the Chatsworth House Trust. To help meet this ambition, Chatsworth in America, Inc—a US non-profit corporation—has been set up by and for Americans with an interest in the historic significance of Chatsworth. You can support Chatsworth in America as a US taxpayer with a tax deductible donation.

From Sotheby’s:

Inspired by Chatsworth: A Selling Exhibition
Sotheby’s New York, 28 June — 18 September 2019

Inspired by Chatsworth: A Selling Exhibition will present a carefully curated group of artworks and objects of exceptional quality that draw inspiration from the country-house aesthetic, as exemplified by the magnificent collection assembled by the Dukes of Devonshire over centuries at Chatsworth. On view alongside Treasures from Chatsworth: The Exhibition, the private selling exhibition will be on display in the newly expanded and reimagined galleries at Sotheby’s New York. The exhibitions will be open simultaneously and their visual parallel will provide the opportunity to celebrate collecting and collectors, of which Chatsworth and the Cavendish family are amongst the greatest examples in history. Inspired by Chatsworth: A Selling Exhibition will also provide today’s collectors with the opportunity to begin or enrich their collections with works of outstanding quality in the Chatsworth taste.

At Sotheby’s | Old Masters Evening Sale

Posted in Art Market by Editor on June 28, 2019

Thomas Gainsborough, Going to Market, Early Morning, oil on canvas, 122 × 147 cm (lot 22, estimate £7–9 million).

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Press release, via Art Daily:

Old Masters Evening Sale (Sale L19033)
Sotheby’s, London, 3 July 2019

This summer, Sotheby’s will present a roll-call of the greatest names in Western art history at its flagship Old Masters Evening Sale (L19033) on 3 July in London. With an overall estimate of £4665.9m/ $59.5–83.7m, the sale next week is one of the strongest sales ever staged in this category, both in value as well as in the quality of works on offer. From some of the finest works by the three key British landscape painters remaining in private hands, to masterpieces and newly discovered works by Renaissance and Baroque masters, the sale features works by the biggest household names spanning six centuries.

British Landscapes

Thomas Gainsborough, Going to Market, Early Morning, estimate £7–9 million

Going to Market, Early Morning (lot 22) is unquestionably one of Gainsborough’s finest masterpieces remaining in private hands, and one of the finest eighteenth-century British landscapes by any artist ever to likely come to market. Painted in 1773 it is one of an important group of three major landscapes Gainsborough painted at this period that deals with the subject of travellers going to or returning from market. The subject and composition of the picture demonstrates Gainsborough’s natural affinity with, and sympathy for the rural poor and includes one of his favourite themes—rustic lovers in an idealised rural setting. Beautifully evoking the early morning journey to market of rural folk as they rise out of the still misty valley into the watery sunlight, this painting acclaimed by scholars and widely praised is one of the artist’s most ravishing landscapes.

John Constable, Study for ‘The White Horse’, estimate £2–3 million

A rare and important compositional study for one of the most celebrated paintings of the English Romantic Movement: The White Horse, which now resides at The Frick Collection in New York. The painting that launched John Constable’s career, The White Horse was the first of Constable’s great ‘Six-Footers’ which cemented the artist’s contemporary fame and which defined his art for generations. Created in 1819, the painting was immediately a critical success and led to the artist being voted an Associate of the Royal Academy the same year. Unlike most of Constable’s major landscapes, for which he produced numerous sketches and went through several drafts before settling upon the final composition, only a small number of preparatory works relating to The White Horse are known. Possibly painted en plein air, the oil sketch shows Constable responding directly to the landscape, capturing the atmosphere of the River Stour, as well as the topographical detail.

J.M.W. Turner, Landscape with Walton Bridges, estimate £4–6 million

One of a small group of ten or so proto-impressionist late pictures by the artist left in private hands, Landscape with Walton Bridges comes to the market for the first time in over 35 years. The central motif—Walton Bridges—is one that the artist had treated twice before in oils, in 1806 and 1807. Clearly a subject with significant meaning to him, in this work he sets the bridge in an idealised, Italianate landscape of his own imagining. Essentially explorations of the effects of light, Turner created the late works for himself, rather than for exhibition or for sale, retaining them for the development of his art. With their bold application of colour, their treatment of light and their deconstruction of form, these late works revolutionised the way the painted image was perceived and are considered to be the artist’s supreme achievement, and the pictures upon which his artistic significance ultimately rest.

J.M.W. Turner, Sun-rise. Whiting Fishing at Margate, 1822, estimate £800,000–1.2 million (part of the Old Master & British Works on Paper Sale)

A celebrated picture which sees the artist working at the height of his powers and on a grand scale, Sun-rise. Whiting Fishing at Margate is one the greatest and most beautiful Turner watercolours to remain in private hands. Positioning himself off the Kentish coast at Margate, a town he had first visited as a small boy and which he regularly returned to throughout his life, Turner looks east in this painting, directly into a mesmeric sunrise, whose magical light gives warmth to everything it touches, before exploding into a myriad of colours on the glass-like surface of the sea. On the left, far in the distance, a guardship announces the dawn by firing its morning gun, while in the foreground, fishermen have already struck lucky and are excitedly hauling in a plentiful catch. Through the cluster of small vessels, the town itself can be made out.

New Discoveries

Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez, Portrait of Olimpia Maidalchini Pamphilj, estimate £2 –3 million

Lost for nearly 300 years, this is the hitherto missing portrait of Donna Olimpia Maidalchini Pamphilj (1591–1657), the most powerful woman in 17th-century Rome. Sister-in-law, reputed lover, and puppet master of Pope Innocent X, Olimpia controlled all aspects of Vatican life. Arguably one of the earliest feminists, this formidable woman, centuries ahead of her time, ruled in all but name as the de facto Pope, taking control of one of the most powerful and male dominated institutions in European history. Once part of the illustrious collection of the 7th Marques del Carpio, one of the greatest patrons and collectors of arts in 17th-century Italy, this painting was last recorded in 1724, before it disappeared without trace. The whereabouts of the painting remained completely unknown until one day, an unattributed work, sold in the 1980s as ‘anonymous Dutch school’, was brought into Sotheby’s Amsterdam office. An intriguing old cypher hidden on the back of the painting prompted Sotheby’s specialists to begin a process of research and discovery—all of which ultimately led to the realisation that this striking portrait was the long-lost original by Velázquez and one of only a handful of paintings by the great Spanish artist left in private hands.

Giovanni Battista di Jacopo Rosso, called Rosso Fiorentino, The Visitation, estimate £500,000–700,000 (part of the Old Master & British Works on Paper Sale)

This newly discovered 16th-century work by the Italian Mannerist painter is an extremely rare example of a chalk drawing by Rosso Fiorentino, and the first compositional study by the artist to appear on the market for half a century. Long thought lost, it is an important and vital addition to the artist’s corpus of drawings. Delicately executed in black chalk, the ten-figure composition was created by Rosso on the request of Aretine painter Giovanni Antonio Lappoli, who had been granted in 1524 a commission for a private altarpiece for the family chapel of the wealthy Aretine citizen, Cipriano d’Anghiari.

Although Rosso must have executed many drawings in his lifetime, almost all of his graphic works have been lost over the centuries and this work adds significantly to the understanding of the working method of an artist known for his eccentricity, and expressive, unconventional pictorial style. Interestingly, the work, which stayed undetected in the same collection since the 18th century, bears on the verso an old attribution to Michelangelo (probably from the 17th century), which may have contributed to the fact that the work is even now, still in excellent condition.

Baroque Pictures

Jusepe de Ribera, Girl with a Tambourine, estimate £5–7 million

One of Ribera’s most celebrated paintings, this arresting depiction of a girl singing a tune while tapping a tambourine embodies his extraordinary powers of expressive characterisation. Probably one of five works originally depicting the five senses, Girl with a tambourine encapsulates Ribera’s inimitable contribution to the imagery of music-making by merging allegory and genre, as well as portraiture, into one remarkable image. Dated to 1637, this painting also features the artist’s characteristic loyalty to his Spanish roots, signed ‘Ribera español’

Peter Paul Rubens, Head of a Young Warrior, estimate £2.5–3.5 million

Painted in the early 1610s, Head of a Young Warrior shows Rubens in complete control of his medium, his brush, and his subject. The characteristically vivacious and energetic study was most likely kept in the artist’s studio as a prop throughout his life for use in larger compositions, including his painting of Saint Ambrosius of Milan Barring Emperor Theodosius from Entering the Cathedral in Milan, painted ca. 1615–17, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Johann Liss, The Temptation of Saint Mary Magdalene, estimate £4–6 million

One of the finest examples of the artist’s work to remain in private hands, this captivating depiction of the Magdalene choosing Salvation over Temptation marks Liss as one of the most fascinating painters of the entire 17th century. The painting sees the artist add a personal twist to the traditional iconography of the penitent Magdalene, portraying her turning away from worldly temptation towards an angel in a design that recalls traditional Netherlandish renderings of the Choice between Vice and Virtue.

Joachim Antonisz Wtewael, Diana and Actaeon, estimate £4–6 million

Joachim Antonisz Wtewael was the supreme exponent of the last great phase of mannerist painting in northern Europe and the most important in the Netherlands of mythological cabinet pieces painted on copper. The intimate scale of this panel, combined with the meticulous detail and smooth finish afforded by the copper’s surface, mark it as a work intended for personal enjoyment by the spectator, who can appreciate the excitement of the extraordinary myth in tandem with the erotic elegance of its forms.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap, estimate £1.5–2 million

One of the best loved of all the Brueghel compositions and, in its beautiful evocation of a winter’s day, one of the most enduring images in Western Art. This particular version of the Bird Trap is one of only a small handful that is both signed and dated by Pieter Brueghel the Younger himself, as well as being one of a few to include the figures of the holy family on the far bank.

18th-Century Masterpieces

Francesco Guardi, The Grand Canal, Venice, with San Simeon Piccolo, estimate: £1–1.5 million

Only recently brought to light for the first time, this beautiful depiction of the Grand Canal is a mature work by Francesco Guardi, most probably painted in the 1770s. The far north-western stretch of the Grand Canal, dominated by the neoclassical church of San Simeone Piccolo and its great dome, though not the most famous of Venetian views, was often chosen by Guardi as a subject for his paintings. This canvas is one of a small group of closely related vedute, probably also painted in the same decade and taken from the same viewpoint; it is moreover the only signed example known, and certainly the finest to remain in private hands. Its subtle colour harmonies of creams, pinks, blues and greys, and its wonderful capture of the atmospheric qualities of Venetian light attest to Guardi’s mastery of his subject, but equally noteworthy are his closely observed details of everyday life upon the canal.

Jean-Etienne Liotard, A Woman in Turkish Costume in a Hamam Instructing a Servant, pastel on paper, laid down on canvas, 70 × 56 cm (lot 33, estimate £2,000,000–3,000,00).

Jean-Etienne Liotard, A Woman in Turkish Costume in a Hamam Instructing a Servant, estimate: £2–3 million

This exceptional pastel is one of the most famous images created by Liotard, whose endeavours in exotic subjects such as this would have excited the senses of the 18th-century viewer, providing a window into a different world. Though his ties with his native Switzerland never wavered, there was perhaps no other 18th-century artist who was more truly cosmopolitan, with Liotard working in almost all the main cultural centres of Europe over a career that spanned six decades. His works in his preferred medium of pastel are often of startling technical and compositional originality. This portrait encapsulates all of the technical brilliance and timeless mystery that underpin Liotard’s genius and enduring appeal.

Medieval and Renaissance

Sandro Botticelli and Studio, Madonna and Child, Seated before a Classical Window, estimate £1,500,000–2,000,000

Painted in 1485, or soon after, this well preserved Madonna and Child follows the design of the central section of Botticelli’s famous altarpiece for the Bardi chapel in the church of Santo Spirito, Florence and since 1829 in the Gemaldegalerie, Berlin. Whether by Botticelli in its entirety, as believed by Prof. Laurence Kanter, or by Botticelli with some assistance from his workshop, the head and hand of the Madonna are of particular note and it seems very likely that the same cartoon, to map out the composition, was used for both this and the Bardi altarpiece.

Third Master of Anagni, The Madonna and Child, Two Angels in the Spandrels above, mid-1230s, estimate £200,000–300,000

Probably created in the mid-1230s, this is one the earliest paintings to be offered in an Old Masters sale at Sotheby’s. Executed in a deft graphic style, this remarkable early work depicts the Virgin with the Christ Child with an inset arch. Acquired for the illustrious Stoclet Collection in Brussels in the early 20th century, this work has not been offered for sale for nearly a century.